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We are restoring a fascinating but forgotten 18th- and 19th-century heritage site to create the permanent national centre for illustration.

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.

Interior of industrial brick building
Rendering of people in an art gallery

Due to open in 2025, the £13mn project is designed by Tim Ronalds Architects, specialists in arts and culture projects with extensive experience of working with special heritage spaces. Their previous projects include Wilton’s Music Hall, Hackney Empire, the National Centre for Circus Arts and Ironmonger Row Baths.

We’ve raised over half of the funds needed to bring these plans to life. To join our community of supporters, donate now using the online form below or contact Jess, our Campaign Lead, to discuss your involvement further:

Learn more:

About New River Head

About the Project Team 

About supporting exhibitions and projects

About illustration

Made possible with Heritage Fund logo

Interior of empty industrial brick building with exposed roof trusses and rooflight
Rendering of exhibition space with exposed roof trusses