£50,000 Smithfield design competition might take inspiration from Bartholomew Fair

Update: Winners have been announced with a proposal for ‘Seats at the table’. “The team will work with local disabled and non-disabled youth to co-design spaces of sharing, making, learning, nourishment and socialising”. More here.

A new competition ‘Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm’ aims to deliver “temporary public realm interventions in Smithfield and East London that collectively develop a deeper understanding of the public’s experience of streets and public spaces”.

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is collaborating with the City of London Corporation, its cultural district Culture Mile, and Foundation for Future London.

On seeing the announcement I wondered whether plans to restaged Bartholomew Fair in Smithfield might provide some inspiration for an event … or whether the competition event might, in any case, became another activity that contributes to the Fair that is already happening along the Culture Mile.

A helpful drop-in briefing about the event prompted me to look up the City Corporation’s Smithfield public realm project and these proposals from 2020.

Here’s an illustration of the original Bartholomew Fair

And the location in west Smithfield today

I’ll find out more about the public realm project which promises a major uplift to our street scene.