Planning permission granted!

Eindhoven is liberated, 19 September 1944 © IWM (BU938)

Three cheers! At a planning committee meeting last night, London Borough of Southwark approved the planning and listed building consent applications for the first phase of our masterplan to transform IWM London. Following the planning committee’s approval, work on architects Foster + Partners plans is set to begin later this year and be completed in time to commemorate the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014.

Key elements of the plans include;

  • New larger First World War Galleries, double the size of the current ones. Split into four key chapters the Galleries will draw upon the latest historical analysis of the causes, course and consequences of this landmark conflict which claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe and affected the lives of millions more.
  • A reconfigured central hall at the heart of the museum where you will encounter iconic planes hanging down from above, and striking objects and exhibits reaching out from rising terraced galleries. Exhibits include many that have not been on public display before, such as an Argentinean operating table from Falklands, a Harrier GR9 that was used in Afghanistan and a snatch Landover used in Iraq.
  • The collections will be re-interpreted. Drawing on the depth and breadth of IWM’s extensive collections,  larger exhibits will be displayed directly alongside film, photos and artworks to strengthen each story. Harnessing modern media, the collections will also be underpinned by digital interpretation.
  • Additional gallery space at the top of the museum for exhibitions relating to contemporary conflicts
  • A new museum café opening onto the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park and a new shop

We are really pleased that first phase of our masterplan to transform IWM London is underway. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

Are you looking forward to anything in particular in the newly transformed IWM London?

  1. Jane Fleming says: May 10, 20129:58 am

    Are you looking forward to anything in particular in the newly transformed IWM London Ipad friendly displays [see the MOSI] AND adaptation of access and accessibility panels for blind and partially sighted [as in Louvre]. of course there will be hearingimpaired loops

  2. Allison says: May 16, 201211:44 am

    Thanks for your feedback Jane! We are committed to achieving high standards in inclusive design. We’re working with an access consultant to ensure inclusive design and access for all is considered as we develop our plans. Stay tuned into the blog in the coming months for more updates about accessibility at the museum. Allison, Transforming IWM London team

  3. J H Garrod says: May 24, 20124:22 pm

    I see no mention of WW2. Airbrushed from history?
    And is it true that the naval guns are to be removed from the front of the museum? If so, why?

    • Allison says: June 1, 20122:17 pm


      (This comment was updated on 6 June 2012).

      The Second World War will be covered in the transformed IWM London. The newly configured Central Hall with larger terraced galleries will take a chronological approach to our displays. The story of the Second World War will be told through large objects and related items to relay key moments and people’s experiences of the War alongside exhibitions such as The Secret War and The Holocaust Exhibition. IWM is planning to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 2015. The naval guns will remain in their current position in front of the museum.

      Stay tuned in to this blog for more about our developments in the coming months.

      Allison, Transforming IWM London team

  4. D David says: June 3, 201212:44 pm

    Hi can you clarify when will the museum mark the 75th anniversary of ww2? The beginning or end of the war? Did you mean the 70th? Thanks.

    • Allison says: June 7, 20128:38 am


      I’ve updated the previous comment on our plans for Second World War. Here’s some more information that may be of interest

      We will mark both the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War in 2014, and the 70th anniversary of the end of the war the following year across all five branches of IWM. It’s too early to give exact timings but keep an eye on our website for more about temporary exhibitions, permanent exhibitions, public events (such as air shows) and veteran events related to these important milestone anniversaries.

      Allison, Transforming IWM London team

  5. Robert says: June 26, 201212:09 pm

    My big fear is that the new IWM will lose something in its new home, although I accept that change is needed and more space is required, I can only look at what has happened at say the RAF Museum which seems to ignore the actual history of the RAF and caution against too much focus on exhibits don’t forget that you also need to appeal to people with knowledge of the subject or those keen to learn more, please avoid going down the easy path the public aren’t stupid.

  6. Roger Hutchins says: July 19, 201210:31 am

    With an enorous archive of photos to select from, why choose an obvoius WWII photo to celebrate a story about WWI? The clothes, the uniform and the Universal carrier give it away. As an illustrator who works for museums I am cocerned that the re-development will just show a similar number of large exhibits with more space between them or in issolation. At least the present display, if a bit sterile, does allow for the taxonomic comparison of different tanks and armoured vehicles, for example.

    • Allison says: July 27, 20125:25 pm

      Hi Roger,

      Thanks for your comment. The story we were highlighting was that we are really pleased that we received planning permission for the first phase of our masterplan that will transform the whole of IWM London. We chose the image because it reflected how pleased we were about the announcement.


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