More Research Needed for Research Centre

By SallyB2 Last edited 125 months ago
More Research Needed for Research Centre

Yesterday comes the news that a shiny new medical centre is to be built on wasteland somewhere behind the British Library….and today sees the start of the more-or-less obligatory protests therein.

The idea is to build the £500 million ‘UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation’ as a partnership project – the key players are the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and University College Hospital. All very exciting. London could do with being the best, the tops, the biz, in a few areas, as it is so often dissed or trailing in the leagues these days. And this new facility sounds like it could be a world leader. Useful stuff as well, medical research (although as Londonist verges on rampant hypochondria at times, we’ll not be going into too much detail therein).

Objections so far have concentrated on the fact that the land could be put to ‘so much better use’ - for new homes and community facilities in an area which is not perhaps one of the more bijou quarters of our great city. Fair comment. But snucked into the arguments for this is what Londonist fears is the underlying cause for dissent: the somewhat fatuous belief that a medical research centre is effectively a building full of germs waiting to escape.

By all accounts the average hospital ward is far from safe from infection, and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases is already but a stone’s throw away (now we can understand not wanting to live next door to that). The location is of course perfect for two of the main partners – UCH and the Wellcome Trust

We are sympathetic to the protestors…but this is potentially one classy and very important project, and (as long as Londonist doesn’t have to think about anything remotely medical) we give it a big thumbs up.

Pretty protein piccies from the Wellcome Trust care of our very own M@’s flickr stream.

Last Updated 06 December 2007


So, London has been going through probably the longest, greatest economic and cultural boom in its modern history and has become again a plausible challenger to New York City as the most diverse and important global city but SallyB can only think that "London could do with being the best, the tops, the biz, in a few areas, as it is so often dissed or trailing in the leagues these days."

Good grief. I know that that gloomy-moaning-and-complaining-for-fun-and-as-a-national-sport can seem like an English national trait sometimes but doesn't SallyB know that London is already very much a plausible contender for being "the best, the tops, the biz" in many areas? If not, she should do more research before writing on a commercial blog which is supposed to be London-focussed. If she does but is in denial about it, then perhaps she write for a rival city's blog.

And yes, the 500 million pound new medical centre is a good idea, but while, 500 million quid for building a medical research centre is a lot, it is not an overwhelming amount relative the high costs of medical research and (construction in major cities in general). London's (which, with the Golden Triangle of London-Oxford-Cambridge, is already one of the leading regions of medical research in the world) status will not be radically boosted by this project, very worthy though it is, as London/Golden Triangle already has a lot of medical research infrastucture.


These really are exciting times for Euston Road. What was previously one of London's most miserable thoroughfares now has the British Library, the Wellcome Collection, the rejuvenated St Pancras and Eurostar terminus, and now a state-of-the-art biomedical facility on the way. (Not to mention the imminent transformation of the railwaylands behind King's Cross.)

And when you consider the road contains three pieces of work by Antony Gormley, two by Eduardo Paolozzi, plus a Thomas Hetherwick sculpture, it really is becoming an unnoticed hub of modern art.

Three cheers for Euston Road, I say.


Hi Wombledon.
It is good to see someone who is as positive about London as Londonist is!
I am obviously a huge London fan - I would not otherwise be writing for Londonist - and like you I lament the amount of moaning and grumbling in the press.
Unfortunately there have been certain vast London projects which have received a bad press for obvious reasons - the Dome, city academies, some of the Olympic development - and the reason I was excited about this research centre is precisely because it should be pretty much a sure-fired success. As you say, it is but capitalising on an area where there is already excellence.
So I think we are in agreement!