Quentin Blake Centre plans get the go-ahead

Friday 4th March 2022

At their meeting in February, Islington's planning committee unanimously approved the scheme to see a group of derelict Grade II-listed buildings at New River Head converted into space for exhibitions, workshops, a café and a shop, to become 'The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration'. 

The centre's location is named after the New River, which was created between 1604 and 1613 to supply London with clean drinking water.  The site includes the remains of one of the last remaining windmills in London.

Working with Tim Ronalds Architects (award-winning architects for Wilton’s Music Hall, Hackney Empire and The National Centre for Circus Arts) the Quentin Blake Centre will open up New River Head’s historic buildings and share their amazing stories.

The new Cente aims to create a space where everyone can come to explore the vitality and variety of illustration, whether they are casual visitors, art-lovers, illustrators, families or students.  Plans are to open it at the end of 2023 but the Centre needs to raise 60 per cent of its £12million target to get started.

Director Lindsey Glen told Islington’s planning committee: “Illustration helps us to understand, to learn and share stories, examine the past, imagine the future. In Islington, I think we’ll see illustration at work.”

She added: “This is a proposal that brings substantial benefits to the borough, including bringing the curriculum to life, signposting young people to creative careers, giving a voice to some of the most marginalised in our community, and uncovering the stories of a place that has been hidden for over 70 years.”

For more information and to find out how to support the fundraising campaign, visit https://www.houseofillustration.org.uk