Craft Central Moves To The Forge - Isle of Dogs


Craft Central moves to The Forge, Isle of Dogs

Reading Time: 

1 min {{readingTime}} mins

Craft Central have announced that they have taken a twenty-year lease on The Forge, Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, bringing back design and making to this area of traditional industry after leases on the Clerkenwell buildings come to an end.

Since 1980 Craft Central have been supporting craftsmanship and craftspeople from two Victorian buildings in Clerkenwell, a traditional centre for craft. With the leases on the Clerkenwell buildings coming to an end, finding other premises has been a priority for the charity which sees them set to move in late August this year.

The Forge, grade 2 listed, was part of the Victorian iron shipbuilding industry. The imaginative conversion by Emrys Architects and iSpace Corporate Interiors places a free standing birch wood construction within the listed walls. There will be self-contained studios, workspaces, meeting rooms and a large exhibition space using the full height of this magnificent building. 

The most famous of the many ships launched at the height of 19 Century shipbuilding was Brunel’s paddle steamer, the Great Eastern. After the decline of shipbuilding, The Forge was part of the box girder bridge building industry which exported bridges across the world. Manufacture finally ceased in the 1950’s. Although some alterations have been made to the structure, much of this exciting building remains intact. 

The design and fit out  
The challenge has been to make economic use of the immense internal space of The Forge whilst not compromising the fabric of the building or the internal listed features that include two overhead tracked cranes. Emrys Architects came up with the original design concept which iSpace Corporate Interiors developed and are building. The solution is a virtually free standing two storey birch wood construction in two sections running either side of the central listed pillars. This design provides self-contained studios with a full height exhibition space at the front of the building and bleacher seats as a striking and usable feature which clear the overhead cranes. 

As currently planned studios range from 83 to 286 sqft and make maximum use of natural light. There will be shared workspace with benches for craftspeople who want somewhere to work occasionally rather than commit to a full-time studio.


A number of workdesks are being positioned along both long walls and these can be hired by the month. Each desk will have a desk light and power points and access to the common services in the building.

Exhibition gallery and rooms for hire 

The large exhibition space/gallery at the front of the building is 1,000 sqft, excluding the bleacher seats. It is an exhilarating space. There will also be rooms of between 83 to 286 sqft that can be hired for meetings, talks, workshops, etc.

Common services  

These include a kitchen, cafe type informal seating and meeting areas and wifi throughout the building, 24 hour security, 365 x 24/7 access, pre-booked secure car parking and a loading bay for deliveries. The ground floor has full disabled access and we hope to extend this to the mezzanine when finances permit. The building will be maintained and cleaned to a high standard. 

Studio, meeting room and exhibition space hire  

All spaces should be available from early September. Enquiries about studio and meeting room hire, including prices, should be addressed here. A fact sheet will be available.  

The exhibition or gallery space is suitable for a variety of uses. To discuss ideas further please leave your contact details here and Craft Central will get back to you.

The location 

  • The Forge is within a secure gated community  

  • A largely residential area, close to the river and within easy access of the business districts of Canary Wharf and Surrey Quays.  

  • Five minutes walk from Mudchute station on the DLR.  

  • Four stops from Canary Wharf and the Jubilee line (Crossrail station in 2018) two stops from Greenwich.  

  • Three minutes from Masthouse Pier with river boat services to central London and Greenwich.  

  • Three minutes from the Thames pathway and cycle track

Image credits: Emrys Architects


Sarah Salmon


{{'2017-05-19T08:00:00.0000000Z' | utcToLocalDate }}
comments powered by Disqus