The New House Of Illustration

The House of Illustration has upped sticks and is planning for a new life in the North London borough of Islington. Peter Gray reports.

A Granary Square address is not normally something to be sniffed at, but the House Of Illustration is already looking to move onwards and upwards following its six year stay in Kings Cross.

Armed with a new name and with an eight million pound budget, the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration is already working on its new home in Islington, North London.

The new venue, which the gallery describes as a ‘mini campus’, is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2022 at the New River Head site. Composed of four desperate buildings, the centre will feature galleries, event space, an education centre, and a café & bar. 

  1. The gallery have engaged the architectural firm of Tim Ronalds Architects to develop the site with a view to conserving the traditional details of the historic building.

The New River Head site is part of the historic new river development created in the 17th century by developer Sir Hugh Myddleton.

The aim of the scheme was to pump fresh water into the city of London from an area of natural springs in Hertfordshire. As part of the development, Myddleton built a reservoir in Islington known as the New River Head. The House of Illustration’s new home is made up of several buildings used to process the water on its journey to the city of London.

The site includes the New River’s former windmill, a Grade II-listed pump house, and a Grade II-listed coal store.

The gallery has had to engage in a fundraising round to raise the funds necessary to complete its new home. £3m has already been raised, with a further £1m being donated by the Architectural Heritage Fund. The institution is hoping to raise the remaining amount with a new public campaign.

The institution’s founder, Quentin Blake, was clearly delighte to lend his name to the new project: “I am enormously proud to have my name associated with this international home for an art which I know and love, and for artists who speak in a myriad of visual languages, but are understood by all. It is going to be amazing.”

The Quentin Blake Centre For Illustration is expected to open in the Autumn of 2022. More information about the venue can be found here.

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-London's Best Events-
What: new gallery
When: 2022
Where: Islington