The new Goldsmiths’ Centre, a purpose-built development created by the Goldsmiths’ Company was officially opened last Wednesday by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra.  The Goldsmiths’ Centre will serve as a hub for members of the jewellery, silversmithing and allied trades, as well as for the general public.

The Goldsmiths’ Centre represents the largest ever single investment (circa £17.5 million) by the Goldsmiths’ Company in support of its craft and industry.  The Centre has been set up as a charitable enterprise and at its core is the aim to help young people to enter skilled employment through vocational training, in addition to nurturing an enduring community of like-minded individuals and businesses from the industry and associated trades.

Situated in London’s Clerkenwell, an area traditionally associated with the watchmaking and silversmithing trades, the new Goldsmiths’ facility incorporates an existing Victorian grade II listed structure, one of the first London Board Schools built in 1872, combined with an exciting new build element. This redevelopment project was made possible through the partnership with the London Development Agency (LDA), which provided the brownfield site upon which the building stands.

During her tour at the Goldsmiths' Centre, Princess Alexandra visited the Goldsmiths’ Institute, the new facility which offers training and education to three distinct audiences: Post-Graduates; Pre-Apprentices; and those already engaged in the craft and industry.

She also admired the Postgraduate Design Studios and was introduced to the Institute staff including Dr. Stuart Devlin, Postgraduate Programme Director (who inspired the initial idea for the project in 2005) and the six post-graduate students Mahtab Hanna, Ivonna Poplanska, Ben Ryan, Helen Smith, Liisa Tallgren and Rupert Todd.

A major element of the Centre are the workshops and starter studios, which are housed in the new build - a total of 19 workshops and 13 starter studios, providing workspace for up to 100 trade and young craftspeople at the outset of their career. 

Established silversmith Clive Burr, who is based in one of the workshops, presented the Princess with a gift of a charming 18 carat gold brooch, designed and made by himself with enamelled detailing of Daphnes, the Princess’s favourite flower, by Jane Short.

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr Martin Drury then thanked the Princess for her presence, and said: “Our intention is that the Centre will be a place of excellence, a place of learning and study where skills are passed on and where beautiful things are made and sent out into the world to be treasured.  It is hoped that in time, the Goldsmiths’ Centre will take its place among the great institutions of London.”

A new exhibition entitled “Creativity, Craftmanship, Community” is designed to coincide with the official opening of the Centre, focusing on the redevelopment of the site and the Charity’s work with young people.  The exhibition runs until Friday May 4 with free admission.