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Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration

London, England

House of Illustration

Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration

Grade II

The Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration will be housed in four repurposed 18th- and 19th-century industrial buildings, including two Grade II-listed structures, with half an acre of surrounding land converted into exhibition galleries, an education centre, event spaces, plus retail and catering facilities. The project’s location, the historic site of New River Head, has remained largely unchanged for nearly 400 years when it became instrumental in the creation of London’s clean water supply during the 17th century. The site includes the atmospheric remains of London’s only surviving windmill and a spectacular 19th-century engine house, and takes its name from the reservoir at the mouth of the New River cut to supply London with water – a civil engineering achievement vital to the development of the city.

This project will provide a new striking venue for exhibitions, events and educational programmes that draw more than a quarter of a million visitors to the UK’s only gallery and education space dedicated to illustration and graphics. This new site for the House of Illustration, currently located near King’s Cross, will also provide a permanent home for the donated archive of the organisation’s founder, Sir Quentin Blake, with selections from his archive of more than 40,000 works on permanent display. Community engagement remains a core tenet of the new site and centre. Accessibility for a wide variety of groups is prioritised throughout the initiative, and local schools, education providers and community organisations will help shape the offerings.

Through the Heritage Impact Fund, the AHF has awarded £1 million of social investment to cover working capital costs in the project's first development phase. The partnership between the AHF and the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration continues the Heritage Impact Fund's important work in creating new futures for historic buildings through community-based initiatives. The AHF is also supporting the House of Illustration with RePlan, their post-investment support programme.

Image Credits

Justin Piperger and Tim Ronalds Architect 

AHF Funding

Heritage Impact Fund Loan - £1,000,000 (2020)

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