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Mr Yentob, a patron of the museum, was present for the start of building work on Monday, telling the JC: “The expansion is a huge leap forward for the museum.

“I think it’s going to be great. [The reopening] will be a big moment for everyone in June 2009.”

The new building will be triple the size of its predecessor, allowing the collections previously held at Camden and Finchley to be brought under one roof.

    Last updated: 4:15pm, May 22 2008