New map of London at City Hall wins cross-party support

Assembly members says installing an up-to-date version of the popular map at its new HQ will help instill “civic pride”, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Map of London at the old City Hall (credit Martin Pettitt via Creative Commons)
Map of London at the old City Hall (credit Martin Pettitt via Creative Commons)

Sadiq Khan is “considering” whether to install a vast map of the capital on the floor of City Hall, after the idea won cross-party support in the London Assembly.

A motion put forward by Liberal Democrat assembly member Caroline Pidgeon noted that the old headquarters of the Greater London Authority (GLA), located by Tower Bridge, had a similar map which was popular with visitors.

The GLA moved out of its old building as a cost-cutting exercise at the end of 2021, leaving the map behind. Pidgeon said that the new headquarters in the Royal Docks “lacks any symbols of civic pride”.

She told an assembly meeting last week: “We need improvements to make it [the current building] more welcoming for visitors and to better represent the work of the GLA and also the simple geography of London. There simply is not a lot to see when you come to this building…

“Whether we like it or not, this is the home of London government. It doesn’t feel like it. It feels like any old office building, with a chamber where we can’t even get the lightbulb fixed.”

Pidgeon’s motion, which won unanimous backing from across the Assembly’s Labour, Conservative, Green and Lib Dem groups, called on the mayor to install an updated version of the map at the current City Hall.

Speaking in support, Labour member Unmesh Desai said that bringing the map back wasn’t just about providing an interesting sight for visitors, “it’s about how the assembly and City Hall is perceived”.

His party colleague Dr Onkar Sahota agreed, saying that he believed there should also be a gift shop at City Hall selling Mayor of London-branded memorabilia.

A spokesperson for Khan said: “The move to the new City Hall has been a huge success, with our new headquarters proving to be a busy and vibrant home for London government, while saving £58m over five years to protect vital services.

“The mayor is always keen to consider ways to make the building even more attractive to visitors and will consider this proposal.”

The map at the old City Hall was removed as a condition of giving vacant possession of the building. By the time the GLA left that building, the map had become about a decade out of date, as it was made just before the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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