Craft Central at The Forge

Craft Central at The Forge:

New era for craft charity as it moves to East London

On Thursday 28 September 2017, Craft Central will open the doors to its new home at The Forge in the Isle of Dogs, East London, bringing design and making back to this area of traditional industry.  The move marks the beginning of a new chapter for Craft Central, a charity that has supported craftsmanship and craftspeople in the UK for 40 years.

Since 1980, Craft Central has been based in two Victorian buildings in Clerkenwell.  With the lease on these buildings coming to an end, the charity has found new premises where it can continue to provide creative studios and shared workshops, organise exhibitions and events and give professional development support for its network of 700 designer makers.  Craft Central has taken a 20-year lease on The Forge and is inviting makers, designers and other freelancers to run their creative businesses from its new East London home.

As well as providing much-needed working spaces, Craft Central plans to run regular public events at The Forge, such a Christmas market, open studio events and its popular Craft It Yourself workshops, positioning the building as a destination in its own right and bringing new commercial life into the area.  Through these events, Craft Central will also become a creative hub for the local community.

Sue Webb, Chair of Craft Central comments: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have found an exciting new long-term home for Craft Central, particularly at a time when so many studios are being forced to close.  We look forward to welcoming new creative businesses to The Forge and to being part of East London’s newest creative community.’

The Forge, a grade II listed building, was part of the Victorian iron ship building industry. The building conversion has been designed by Emrys Architects and is being developed and built by iSpace Corporate Interiors.  The design will make the most of the immense height of the space and ensure that the fabric of the building and listed features are not compromised.  A two-story birch wood construction in two sections running either side of the central listed pillars will provide self-contained studios, leaving a full height exhibition space at the front of the building, which will be available for pop-up events and exhibitions and will also be used for Craft Central’s seasonal events programme.  The design will also incorporate shared workspaces, co-working desks and smaller spaces that can be hired for meetings, talks and workshops.

Clive Nichol, Managing Director of Fabrix who own The Forge comments: ‘Fabrix is not your average real estate investor.  We strive to consider the local and global community and the part culture and history plays in sustaining amazing cities.  Craft Central is the perfect partner for this amazing building and our wider strategy.  The fact that the building was a forge with such rich industrial history and will now be full of activity from modern day makers is pretty special.’

The Forge is based close to the river and within easy access of Greenwich, Canary Wharf and Surrey Quays.  It is a five-minute walk from Mudchute station on the DLR.


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