London Is Getting A New Migration Museum

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 15 months ago

Last Updated 22 February 2023

London Is Getting A New Migration Museum
A mock up of the new museum, with the Gherkin in the background
The Migration Museum is moving to a more central, and permanent, location in the City.

London's Migration Museum is getting a new permanent home, in the City of London.

Beginning life in 2013 as a series of pop-up events and exhibitions, the Migration Museum has been housed in Lewisham Shopping Centre since 2020, with a remit to 'explore how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has shaped who we are — as individuals, as communities, and as a nation.'

Now, the City of London Corporation has announced that the museum will be given a permanent home as part of a new mixed development at 65 Crutched Friars, close to Fenchurch Street. The museum space will cover three floors and feature a cafe and shop.

Sophie Henderson, CEO of the Migration Museum, said: "There is no more fitting location for the Migration Museum than in the heart of the City of London, Britain's gateway to the world for thousands of years.

"The Migration Museum will be an inspiring venue for diverse audiences from across the City, London and beyond to come together to explore, discuss and reflect on key questions around migration, identity and belonging; a go-to destination for schools, a resonant setting for training and skills-building and a relevant, welcoming space for a host of activities for the many communities we serve."

A collection of bright orange lifejackets
The museum is currently in Lewisham Shopping Centre, where it's been since 2020. Image: Londonist

City of London Corporation Planning Applications Sub-Committee Chairman Shravan Joshi added that the development would bring new life to the eastern part of the City, and help bolster the 'Destination City' vision of making the Square Mile a seven-day-a-week visitor destination.

It's isn't yet clear when the new museum will open — but a spokesperson says they'll be in Lewisham till at l;east 2025/6. In the meantime, it's expected that work to demolish the current 1980s office block at Crutched Friars, and begin work on the replacement 21-storey build, will commence later in 2023.

The Migration Museum — brainchild of former immigration minister, Barbara Roche — has brought enlightening and thought-provoking displays to the fore; one exhibition in 2017 told the personal stories of immigrants through the ages, and featured genuine — but non-functioning — life jackets worn by contemporary migrants in their bid to flee to safer parts of the world.