Tate to buy power station for gallery: Plan to show modern art at Bankside will 'transform capital culturally'. David Lister reports

Britain's first national museum of modern art is to housed in the old Bankside Power Station in south London. The official announcement came yesterday from the director and chairman of the Tate Gallery and from John Gummer, the Cabinet minister responsible for London, amid lavish promises of it transforming the capital culturally and financially.

The pounds 80m new museum, twice the size of the present Tate at Millbank, north of the river, will come under the Tate and its director, Nicholas Serota, and will show much of its international 20th-century art collection. The present gallery will revert to its original purpose of showing the history of British art.

The vast Bankside Power Station, revealed as the chosen site in the Independent some months ago, will be sold to the Tate by Nuclear Electric plc. Mr Serota promised yesterday that it will equal the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the museums of modern art in New York.

Over the next two years, plant will be removed from Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's building, which opened in 1963. A tour around it yesterday showed the enormous scope it offers. Often described as 'a temple of power', it offers an eight-acre site dominated by a massive vaulted hall. While galleries are likely to be built with balconies, the feeling of great space underneath the vault is unlikely to be affected.

The building has an imposing exterior towering over the River Thames, and a huge roof garden space with striking views over much of London, including the river and the rebuilt Shakespearian Globe theatre just below.

There is also the possibility of allowing visitors to be taken up the 325ft chimney by lift for even more panoramic views.

The Tate, which plans to raise the pounds 80m needed for the purchase and development from a mixture of private funds and money from the new national lottery earmarked by the Government for millennium celebration projects, will open the museum of modern art in 2000. Later this year it will launch an international competition to find an architect to convert the building, currently largely disused, although a small part of it still serves as an electricity sub-station.

Mr Serota's plans include a footbridge across the Thames linking the new museum with the area around St Paul's Cathedral, and a boat service connecting the museum with the Tate in Millbank and other cultural centres along the river.

The Jubilee Tube line extension due to be completed before the museum opens will have a station next to the site.

And Mr Serota promised yesterday, in response to the Independent's campaign for the better use of cultural spaces, that there would be terrace cafes and public spaces, and that staff car parking would be banned from the forecourt.

The chairman of the Tate's trustees, Dennis Stevenson, predicted that the presence of the new museum and its regeneration of the Bankside area would encourage Japanese bankers to invest in the nearby City of London, in preference to Paris or Frankfurt.

He added: 'This will be the first national gallery to be built in Britain since the 19th century. The project shows that Britain is looking to the future and entering the 21st century in a creative spirit.'

John Gummer said that the Government would be backing the project, and that it was a key part of the regeneration of the south bank of the Thames.

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Estimator

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a major supplier of buil...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas