In pictures | Sir Robert McAlpine named Museum of London official contractor

A visualisation showing a row of shops with people outside.
The new Museum of London is expected to open in 2026 (Image: Secchi Smith)

Museum of London has formally appointed Sir Robert McAlpine as the construction manager of its new site at the Old Smithfield Market.

Around 70% of the existing Smithfield Market buildings’ structure will be retained. Operational carbon will be reduced through smart technologies thof at monitor and improve energy performance over time. And more than 95% of construction waste will be diverted from landfill, says Sir Robert McAlpine.

Walls made of bricks.
The basement’s 10,000 sq m of Victorian brickwork has already been cleaned and restored (Image: Will Scott)

Work was recently completed on the first phase of the restoration works on the external facades of the 150-year-old market designed by Sir Horace Jones.

Internal works to the general market are underway to prepare for the excavation of service trenches in the site’s former salt stores and vaults and formation of the new floor level.

Two people with high-vis jackets and hard helmets walking on a construction site.
Much of the historic fabric of the Old Smithfield Market will be preserved (Image: Will Scott)

The basement’s 10,000 sq m of Victorian brickwork has already been cleaned and restored. A new layered concrete staircase in the general market will connect ‘the social spaces of Our Time’ (an area dedicated to displays exploring London in living memory) with the ‘underground spaces of Past Time’.

This area will house the museum’s permanent galleries and will have interactive displays to showcase the museum’s collection. The ground floor will maintain the original features of the building’s marketplace.

Museum of London A huge vault with scaffolding underneath.
Although Sir Robert McAlpine was named as the construction manager of the new museum earlier in the year, the formal appointment came this week (Image: Will Scott)

Longstanding experience

Grant Findlay, executive managing director of buildings at Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “Our team of experts have longstanding experience of working on iconic landmark buildings. We also share Museum of London’s ambitions for achieving high sustainability targets and creating social value that benefits local communities.

“We look forward to bringing their vision to life, so visitors and Londoners are able to discover more of our capital’s diverse history.”

Museum of London A concept image of a big room with items on display and people walking.
The new museum is expected to open to the public in 2026 (Image: Secchi Smith)

Museum of London said it has attracted more than 21 million visitors since its inauguration in 1976. The museum’s former home at 150 London Wall closed to the public in December 2022, but the museum’s chapter in the Docklands remains open.

The museum aims to attract many more visitors, including schoolchildren, and showcase more items of its collection at its new venue.

The museum expects welcome its first visitors to preview events and a festival curated by Londoners in late 2025. It is scheduled to open to the public as a visitor attraction in 2026 under a new name, The London Museum.

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  1. Sounds great

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