Plans for a major cultural quarter on the Olympic Park have received a significant boost with the news that £45million has been pledged by private backers.

This sits alongside the £141million already offered to the Olympicopolis project by Chancellor George Osborne and £200million from City Hall.

The £1.3billion legacy project aims to create a world-beating arts and education centre in the heart of east London featuring blue-chip names such as Sadler’s Wells , the V&A , University College London and, possibly, the Smithsonian in its first venture outside the US.

The private contribution aims to top £180million with a fund-raising push launched by Mayor Of London Boris Johnson on Thursday (November 5).

Former Wellcome Trust boss and BP executive Sir Bill Castell has been appointed to draw cash from philanthropists with the aim of starting building work in 2018 and completion by 2021.

Sir William Castell, former boss of Wellcome
Sir William Castell, former boss of Wellcome

He said: “The vision is for a new metropolitan centre for east London. When I go to talk to people about it they are often stunned by the size of the project but impressed by how far it has come.

“We will have 10,000 graduates and postgraduates on the site, there will be a productive and creative community. The world will take notice and come and see this vision for a new way of living in the 21st century.”

“Olympicopolis is investing over £1billion to deliver access to the very best in education, technology and the arts, for the people of east London, enhancing the incredible cultural life already there.”

The statement arts hub is at the centre of a gradual drift eastwards of major cultural institutions which includes the English National Ballet in Canning Town , a new commercial theatre by Tower Bridge and a new concert hall in the City.