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Green light for Migration Museum’s first permanent home

Image Credit: 3XN Architects

The Migration Museum – which law firm Shakespeare Martineau has supported for several years – has secured a permanent home in central London.

Plans for a purpose-built space on the first three floors of a new 21-storey student accommodation block near Tower Hill have been approved by the City of London’s planning sub-committee.

The space, near Aldgate underground station, will be the first permanent home for the museum, which is currently based in Lewisham Shopping Centre and explores the movement of people to and from the UK and how this has shaped the nation.

It will include interactive temporary and permanent exhibition galleries, flexible event and education space, outdoor areas for programming and activities, a cafe-restaurant and shop.

Sophie Henderson, CEO of the Migration Museum, said: “We are delighted to have secured this opportunity for a permanent home for the Migration Museum. We are creating Britain’s missing museum, exploring how the movement of people to and from the City, London and the UK has shaped who we are – as individuals, as communities and as nations.

“Now more than ever, we need an inspiring space for diverse audiences from across London, Britain and beyond to come together to explore, discuss and reflect on key questions around migration, identity and belonging. And 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.

“Shakespeare Martineau is one of the law firms that has supported the Migration Museum over many years. We are extremely grateful for this support and very excited to create a new cultural destination in central London.”

Partner Simon Robinson and associate Lucy Saddington from Shakespeare Martineau’s real estate team in London have provided legal support to the museum, including assisting with the move to its current premises in Lewisham in 2019. Intellectual property partner Kim Walker has provided IP advice, while legal director and immigration specialist Tijen Ahmet has provided employment support.

Simon said: “We are delighted that the next phase in the Migration Museum’s history has taken a giant leap forward. The museum celebrates the UK’s relationship with migration and highlights its impact throughout the country.

“We are thrilled to have supported the museum over the past few years, moving them to their current home and hopefully into this permanent home. We also know that the next stage of their journey will need resourcing, and so we encourage everyone to consider supporting the museum in any way they can with its continued development.”

The Migration Museum was founded more than a decade ago by Barbara Roche, who served as immigration minister under the last Labour government and is the child of Jewish immigrants.

It currently attracts 7,000 visitors a month and intends to remain in Lewisham until around 2025-26 as it launches as capital fundraising campaign to raise up to £15 million to support the move.

The new space will be created in partnership with the real estate company Dominus, which was founded by businessman and former refugee Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, who emigrated to the UK in the 1970s to escape persecution in Idi Amin’s Uganda.