Up to £2.5million in funding to complete a detailed business case for a new Centre for Music in the Square Mile has been given the go-ahead today [January 12].
The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council has voted to provide the money.
At the heart of the vision for the Centre for Music, originated by the partners – the Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2014 – are proposals for a world-class concert hall for the digital age and an ambitious, educational offer to bring music-making to the widest possible audience. The business case will test whether it is viable to build the centre on part of the 140–150 London Wall site, which currently houses the Museum of London and Bastion House.
The proposal to create a Centre for Music was the subject of a Government-funded feasibility study in 2015. This was followed by funding for business case work. However, in November 2016, the Government announced that it was withdrawing its funding for the detailed study. The detailed business case will be completed by December 2018 and will be subject to periodic reviews by the City prior to this date, and a final decision on whether to go forward with the project will then be taken by the City of London Corporation.
The preferred site for the Centre for Music, which the City of London Corporation has agreed in principle to make available, is currently occupied by the Museum of London, but will become available when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to a larger site at West Smithfield.
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “This decision re-affirms our commitment to transform the area surrounding the Barbican into a world-leading cultural hub for the arts, heritage and learning. We have a long history as a leading investor in the arts and we recognise that culture - open and available to all - is what attracts people to visit, work and live in London and the UK.”
Responding to the decision, the partners leading the project – the Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama - said: “We are very pleased that the City of London Corporation has agreed to provide funding to complete a detailed business case for an outstanding Centre for Music in the Square Mile. Our vision and drive to deliver a world-class Centre for the 21st century that provides access to great music to the widest possible audience remains unchanged, and we are looking forward to working with the City of London Corporation to explore how this vision could potentially become a reality.”
The City of London Corporation invests £80m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s biggest funder of culture after the Government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.