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The Forge Victorian ironworks on Isle of Dogs forges ahead with an open weekend

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 September 2017

Historic Victorian ironworks forge on the Isle of Dogs now open to the public. Picture: Justin Webb

Historic Victorian ironworks forge on the Isle of Dogs now open to the public. Picture: Justin Webb

Justin Webb

A 150-year-old ironworks forge on the Isle of Dogs throws its doors open to the public for the first time today to help revive traditional craftsmanship.

Vast space inside The Forge in West Ferry Road now being used for communnity craft workshops. Picture: Justin Webb Vast space inside The Forge in West Ferry Road now being used for communnity craft workshops. Picture: Justin Webb

Millwall’s Grade II-listed ironworks—one the last buildings from the great Victorian shipbuilding era of London’s East End—has never been open to the public before.

It is now the new home of Craft Central charity that promotes traditional craft industries.

A three-day free ‘housewarming’ weekend starts today for a chance to look round the building in Westferry Road with its huge overhead cranes, triple-height exhibition space and new studios and workshops.

Craft workshops for all ages by London Craft Club and an exhibition about the forge’s industrial past by Friends of the Island History Trust are included in the open weekend running till Sunday.

Computer image of community space erected inside Millwall's historic foundry. Picture: Craft Central Computer image of community space erected inside Millwall's historic foundry. Picture: Craft Central

The exhibition has digitally-crafted luxury textiles hand-embroidered portraits, hand-crafted rugs and an installation of 27 original sign-written works.

The Craft Central charity, which has moved to the East End after nearly 40 years in Clerkenwell, aims to bring design and making back to the Isle of Dogs with creative studios and shared workspaces, while organising regular exhibitions, events and giving professional development support to its network of 700 designer-makers.

The interior of The Forge has been designed by architects to make the most of the immense height of the space and ensure that the fabric of the building and listed features are not compromised.

It has shared work spaces as well as studios and an exhibition area, co-working desks and smaller spaces that can be hired for meetings, talks and workshops.

The charity also wants to hold regular winter markets, open studio events and workshops to bring new commercial life into the area.

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