The City of London Corporation has reinforced its commitment to embedding culture at the centre of the Square Mile’s post-Covid recovery with a series of commitments to the sector. I was pleased to be able to support a phased approach to a major renewal of the City’s leading cultural destination, the Barbican Centre, at our Policy and Resources Committee.

The City Corporation has committed further funding for two years for Culture Mile, the City Corporation’s initiative to create a new destination for creativity, innovation, and learning in the north-west corner of the Square Mile, in partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London. The funding will enable Culture Mile to continue its transition to a sustainable business model. These commitments, alongside the new Museum of London in West Smithfield, will form a central part of the City’s wider cultural regeneration plans and play an important role in London’s/the City’s post-Covid recovery.

The City Corporation has also confirmed that, given the current unprecedented circumstances, its ambitious plans for a Centre for Music will not be progressed. Alternative proposals for the site – currently occupied by the Museum of London – will be brought forward over the coming months. Investment in the City Corporation’s existing assets will maintain and enhance its commitment to creativity and culture.

Key decisions approved:

  • Major renewal of the Barbican Centre announced
  • London Symphony Orchestra funding renewed
  • City of London Corporation confirms commitment to developing Culture Mile
  • Centre for Music will not be progressed

Elected Members backed plans to reimagine and upgrade the 40-year-old complex to serve the changing needs of modern audiences, visitors, performers, and artists.

The internationally famous Barbican Centre will respond to the climate change agenda, increasing sustainability, creating new civic spaces and expanding the digital offer, whilst respecting its Grade-II listing status.

Audiences and visitors will benefit from upgraded facilities, including enhanced spaces for community and creative learning programmes, events across the art-forms, with accessibility and inclusivity embedded across all of its activities.

A competitive selection process to find a world-class architect-led team to take this project forward will be launched later this year.

A further grant for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has also been confirmed. The pioneering and internationally renowned orchestra was founded in 1904 and has been resident at the Barbican Centre since its opening in March 1982.