An old ship building warehouse in the Isle of Dogs is about to get a new lease of life as Craft Central prepares to open its creative studios in east London.

The craft charity had been based in Clerkenwell since it started in 1980 but has now taken a 20-year lease on The Forge in Westferry Road, and has been busily installing art studios and room for co-working desks ahead of the grand opening.

To avoid altering or damaging the historic building, self-contained studios are being built in two-storey birch wood constructions running either side of the central pillars, while the space at the front of the building will be used for exhibitions and pop-up events.

An artist's impression of the self contained studios in The Forge

Craft Central chair Sue Webb said: “The Forge is an attraction in its own right. It’s a beautiful building.

“It’s been an empty for a long time because no one had really thought about how best to use it, and how to make it economical. But it’s a great example of a big ship building complex that hasn’t been turned into residential like most of the other ones, and people are really excited about it.

“The Isle of Dogs is a big residential area, but there’s not always a huge amount to do. We want to offer things that will appeal to the local community and help make the Isle of Dogs a destination in its own right.

The former warehouse is being transformed

“For us, it’s not about moving Clerkenwell to the Isle of Dogs. It’s saying this is a new area, this is a fresh start. This is a brand new opportunity for us.”

Craft Central will officially open at The Forge on Thursday, September 28. The charity is inviting the east London craft community to join the workspace, and is planning to run public events including a Christmas market, open studio events and taster workshops.

For more information or to find out how to get involved, visit the website .

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