One of the Island's great industrial heritage buildings has secured a new lease of life. After more than 40 years in Clerkenwell, Craft Central - a leading arts and crafts charity supporting over 700 designer-makers - have decided to make a new home at The Forge on Westferry Road, signing a 20 year lease. Craft Central celebrated their official opening at The Forge on September 28th, where it now provides 67 creative studios and shared workspace, with exhibitors in ceramics, glass, textiles, jewellery and furniture.
The Forge was saved from part-demolition in 2015 when ward Councillor Andrew Cregan campaigned with local residents, business owners and heritage activists against a damaging Council-backed proposal that would have seen much of the Grade II listed building lost forever.
Built in 1860, the historic shipyard forge built the world's first ironclad battleships as well as the largest ship of the 19th century, Brunel's famous SS Great Eastern, which laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866.
After attending the launch of Craft Central at The Forge, Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Cregan said: "I'm delighted to welcome Craft Central to the Isle of Dogs.The Forge is magnificent relic of our industrial heritage so after the recent threat the building it's exciting to see it being put to such an incredible new use. The new studios and exhibition space look tremendous and really shows off the historic features of the building - I'm sure that the Craft Central creative community are going to flourish in their new home!"