River Head site to become Quentin Blake gallery

The site of the former water pumping plant at New River Head just off Amwell Street in Islington is to be the new home of the Quentin Blake House of Illustration.
This industrial heritage site was where fresh water arrived in London via the New River, an artificial channel that meandered steadily but gently downhill over 40 miles from Hertfordshire. Since it was completed in 1613 it has been instrumental in London’s water supply: for testing labs, water offices, pumping stations and reservoirs . The central round pond was drained in 1913.

The buildings that have stood unused since the 1950s are to be used for galleries, exhibitions, classrooms and café.

Work on transforming the site has started, but the Quentin Blake arts and education charity needs to raise £12 million. The main buildings are the base of the eighteenth century windmill; the huge engine house and the coal store.

Coal store
Base of windmill
Boiler room

Pictures by Anna Turk