Centre in Progress: Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration Site Tours

September 8 - September 18

Get in while you can! Visits for timed entry: 8 to 11 and 15 to 18 September 2022.

Visit the derelict industrial site that will become the national centre for illustration, with installations by Laura Copsey & Philip Crewe and Sharpay Chenyuè Yuán.

Restoring the 300-year-old former waterworks will create the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration. The official opening will be in 2024, but for a limited time in September you can visit the site before its transformation, find out more about their plans and tell us what you’d like to see when they open.

The site – New River Head – has a fascinating history as the hub of one of London’s first major pieces of urban infrastructure, but its unique 18th and 19th century buildings have been locked up for 70 years. On your visit, you can see this unique space and find out more about its history at installations by our illustrators in residence.

Laura Copsey & Philip Crewe’s New River Folk is a fictional museum commemorating three real people connected to the site. With storied objects made by traditional craft and site-specific processes, Copsey & Crewe give insights into the lives of the working-class women and men who are little-seen in New River Head’s ‘official’ histories.

Sharpay Chenyuè Yuán’s Lost Springs, Coming Spring is an epic 25 metre-long drawing that overlays New River Head’s abandoned buildings with scenes from its active past. She references major moments in the site’s history and the labour of the men and women who worked there.

Also on show will be prints made by the New River using cameraless photography.

Guided tours will be available via the Open House Festival website very soon. Sign up to the newsletter to be first to hear when booking opens.

Part of Open House Festival and London Design Festival 2022.

The illustration residencies are made possible with generous support from the Barbara and Philip Denny Trust.

FREE. Booking required. Visit website or click here for more details


September 8
September 18


Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration
Rear of 28 Amwell Street
London, EC1R 1XU
Venue Website:


Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration
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