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Help us restore a fascinating but forgotten 18th- and 19th-century heritage site to create the permanent national centre for illustration.

Make your mark with a donation

New River Head’s magnificent engine house, windmill base and derelict stores will be repurposed as galleries, learning spaces, a café and a shop, set within half an acre of new public gardens in Clerkenwell.

The Quentin Blake Centre will offer a dynamic, distinctive programme of exhibitions, uncovering rarely-seen original illustration for books, advertising, packaging, protest and propaganda. It will provide a home for the 40,000-work archive of the UK’s best-loved illustrator, Quentin Blake. It will be created with and for its local community, while strengthening the foundations for our nationwide tours and schools projects.

Photograph of a derelict heritage site with brick buildings and a cobbled path.
An illustration of a large brick building, surrounded by cobbled paths. People are sitting, walking and moving around the site. Some are drawing and reading. There are plants in the foreground and landscaped gardens. There is a round building on the left hand side and a one floor story building at the back of the image.

Once open, we will be able to expand our activities with local families, care homes and community centres, empowering people who have historically been marginalised to share their stories and ideas, and explore their local area, through illustration.

In a borough that has less green space per head than any other part of the UK, New River Head’s outdoor spaces will become a vital community resource, with play spaces, biodiverse planting, a new public pathway and numerous opportunities to draw and make.

A volunteering programme, new employment and training prospects, and partnerships with local colleges and alternative educational providers will open up new opportunities and ensure that the Centre is developed and run with the community it serves.

We're almost there! With less than 15% of our campaign target needed to bring these plans to life, join our community of supporters. Make your mark with a donation, join our friends, become an Illustration Angel or contact us directly to discuss your involvement further.

£300 could give a young person an insight into working in the creative/heritage industries through a work experience placement.

£120 could provide tools to be used by gardening volunteers, to help tend and maintain spaces for outdoor learning and exploration.

£40 could buy books, comics and zines for our free-access illustration library.

£8 could supply creative resources for a self-led school visit for a pupil/class.

Whatever gift you can give will make a big difference. Please make your mark today!

Email Bryony, our Philanthropy Manager to discuss your involvement further

Learn more:

About New River Head

About the Project Team 

About supporting exhibitions and projects

About illustration

Interior of empty industrial brick building with exposed roof trusses and rooflight
Rendering of exhibition space with exposed roof trusses
Interior of industrial brick building
Rendering of people in an art gallery