Smithfield Wholesale Market


In 1999 USM were invited by the City of London Corporation to make proposals for the re-use of the General Market Building in Smithfield.  We put together a viable set of ideas for a low cost but effective approach, based on our work at Spitalfields Market and Borough Market in London and Sneinton Market in Nottingham.   The proposals included a mix of fresh food with cultural retail and fashion along with arts uses including workspace in the old trading floor units as well as the upper levels.

In 2007 we were engaged by English Heritage to act as their expert witness in trying to stop the buildings from being demolished to make way for an office scheme.  For this we put together a business plan for the re-use of the buildings along the lines of our first study. Eric Reynolds was cross examined in the Public Inquiry and his evidence was critical in the decision which was to keep the buildings intact.

Key Facts

Project dates 1999 – 2000
Client City Corporation & English Heritage
Brief Save Smithfield Market Enquiry / alternative uses
Partnerships English Heritage / SAVE Britain’s Heritage
Results Our first proposal was considered by the City of London Corporation who decided to take forward a redevelopment scheme instead. They chose developer Thornfield Properties. There followed a major campaign led by English Heritage and SAVE Britain’s Heritage which was ultimately successful in saving the buildings. Before Thornfield Properties went into liquidation they switched architects to produce a more heritage inclusive scheme. Following their demise the owners of the long lease are now clients of Henderson Global Investors.

Related news/press

5th April 2011

Let Smithfield start the urban village revolution

Further information

Related projects