New free exhibition opens in Southwark to celebrate borough's industrial legacy

20 February 2024

A new exhibition exploring Southwark’s industrial past and its ongoing influence on the borough’s creative industries opens at the Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library this week.

“Making Southwark” takes residency at the heritage centre from February to December 2024 and is free to attend.

The immersive and engaging exhibition invites visitors to explore the borough’s artisanal heritage, including textile art, theatrical costume and craft work, emphasising its lasting mark and contribution to the contemporary creative landscape. The heritage, art and archives collections contain a wealth of material and objects made by hand or machine, innovations of their day and each telling unique stories from the borough’s famed past as an industrial working place.

Making Southwark exhibition

The exhibition brings together works and pieces already in the collections related to creative industries and new pieces created by up and coming arts and crafts practitioners and tradespeople. The collection includes pieces from stonemasonry and metal cutting industries to acclaimed 18th century dye works from the Crutchley Dye Works factory. There is also an opportunity to see the prestigious collection of world culture artefacts which have an important part to play in the borough’s history.

This exhibition complements the "Story of Southwark" permanent exhibition at the heritage centre, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the borough's enduring industrious spirit.

A programme of events will run alongside the exhibition including a range of talks, children’s creative workshops, craft-making sessions for families and events with partner organisations.

Councillor Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Leisure and Parks, said: “I’m thrilled to see Southwark’s rich industrial history showcased for all to see. This exhibition not only honours our borough’s storied past but also celebrates the creativity that continues to define Southwark today. It is a reminder of the invaluable contributions diverse communities have made to help shape the vibrant cultural tapestry comprising Southwark’s past and present.”

Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth library is open seven days a week Mon – Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-4pm. “Making Southwark” can be visited during opening hours with no need to book in advance.

Southwark Council’s heritage collections can also be explored online here.

Page last updated: 20 February 2024

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