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About Craft Central

Studio spaces and events

Craft Central is the community for creative thinkers, makers, and craft-lovers in East London.

About

Craft Central is home to a thriving community of professional makers.  From Studio spaces to business development support, we help makers succeed.

Fundamental to our work is our belief that given the right circumstances anyone can thrive.  That's why we seek opportunities for our members, and for the makers of the future - supporting them, showcasing them and connecting them.

We provide many resources for creative enterprises and individuals including: studio spaces; co-working spaces and desks; educational workshops and classes, plus a busy programme of events held in our Gallery Space.

Our creative community can exhibit and sell fine craft products at our events, whilst our ever-growing network of designer-makers enables craftspeople to link with colleagues in the wider craft and creative community.

Our Story

We have a long and illustrious history, Craft Central has been supporting and nurturing extraordinary makers  since 1970. For over 40 years our home was in Clerkenwell, but in 2017, we moved into the Forge after completing a significant renovation to a Grade II listed industrial building.  

Nominated for a New London Award, the building is stunning, and a fitting home for contemporary craftspeople.

The Forge before the renovation
The sympathetic renovation ensured that many original features remained. You’ll find huge feature windows, exposed brickwork, eight former furnace chimney breasts, old gantries, ironwork and industrial fittings – even two overhead cranes (in full working order!). One crane is particularly rare. Built by the Vaughan Crane Company in Manchester, it dates back to the late 19th century and comprises a timber gantry frame, under-braced with a timber gantry.
It is an exemplar of what can be achieved in a Listed building by good design and sympathy for the existing features. The conversion of the open lofty space without damaging the industrial inheritance is a remarkable triumph.
Chris Halliday, Estates Project Manager, Royal Museums Greenwich.
The Forge

Located on Westferry Road, The Forge was built in 1860 for CJ Mare & Company (engineers and shipbuilders). It is one of the last buildings from the golden age of shipbuilding on the Isle of Dogs. At the time of Brunel’s famous paddle steamer, The Forge – part of a 5,000-strong workforce – built the keel for HMS Northumberland; one of the earliest ironclad battleships.

Built of robust, Flemish bond brick, The Forge then had a varied history. After becoming a workshop for Joseph Westwood & Co (structural engineers and bridgebuilders) in 1889, the vast building went into decline. At one point, there was even a risk of demolition.

2003 saw The Forge gain Grade II listing and most recently, Craft Central approached Emrys Architects with a brief to create a collection of studio spaces, creative workspaces and a gallery for exhibitions.

Jung Byun, Embroiderer

A dynamic team with various expertise

From events management, community support to communication and building management, the team is around to help you. Would you like to visit Craft Central at the Forge? Please get in touch, we’d love to show you round.