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Interior of round brick building with conical roof and lantern

Centre in Progress

Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, Clerkenwell
8 to 11 and 15 to 18 September, Free entry
Opening hours: Thursdays and Fridays 12:00 – 14:00, Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 17:00

Please note: ensure you attend the correct location. The site address is Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, Rear of 28 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1XU.

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You can visit without a ticket, but you may have to queue for entry.

Open this weekend

Visit the derelict industrial site that will become the national centre for illustration, with installations by Laura Copsey & Philip Crewe and Sharpay Chenyuè Yuán.

We are restoring a 300-year-old former waterworks to create the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration. The official opening will be in 2024, but for a limited time in September you can visit the site before its transformation, find out more about our plans and tell us what you’d like to see when we open.

Industrial brick buildings with blue sky above

The site – New River Head – has a fascinating history as the hub of one of London’s first major pieces of urban infrastructure, but its unique 18th and 19th century buildings have been locked up for 70 years. On your visit, you can see this unique space and find out more about its history at installations by our illustrators in residence.

Laura Copsey & Philip Crewe’s New River Folk is a fictional museum commemorating three real people connected to the site. With storied objects made by traditional craft and site-specific processes, Copsey & Crewe give insights into the lives of the working-class women and men who are little-seen in New River Head’s ‘official’ histories.

Black wicker cow's head with yellow wicker horns and straw star on the forehead
Carved wooden man wearing a mole costume

Sharpay Chenyuè Yuán’s Lost Springs, Coming Spring is an epic 25 metre-long drawing that overlays New River Head’s abandoned buildings with scenes from its active past. She references major moments in the site’s history and the labour of the men and women who worked there.

Illustration of industrial interior with people working wearing clothes from different periods
Illustration of industrial interior and yard with people wearing clothes from different eras and working horses

Also on show will be prints made by the New River using cameraless photography.

Guided tours will be available via the Open House Festival website very soon. Sign up to our newsletter to be first to hear when booking opens.

Part of Open House Festival and London Design Festival 2022.

Our illustration residencies are made possible with generous support from the Barbara and Philip Denny Trust.

Open House and London Design Festival logos

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