Clerkenwell’s Top Ten

Clerkenwell Design Week 21-23 May 2019 Banner

Clerkenwell Design Week is synonymous with contemporary architecture, manufacture and innovation, and is the biggest event in the design calendar. This year sees the tenth edition of the must-see event, and in May exhibitors anticipate seeing more than 34,000 visitors from across the globe flock to their showrooms, studios and warehouses to marvel at the latest design trends.

We thought we’d celebrate the tenth anniversary of this unique and inspirational event by sharing our top ten facts about Clerkenwell.

Clerkenwell’s Top Ten

  1. The district of Clerkenwell takes its name from the sacred well, ‘Clerk’s Well’, which is located in Farringdon Lane. Apparently, in the Middle Ages, the parish clerks (clerics) used to perform mystery plays near the well, and this is what gave the district its name.
  2. The well was lost for some time, but was fortunately rediscovered in 1924, and is now located within the basement of an office block! A blue plaque on the wall of the building marks its location. During Design Week, the usually closed well is open to the public and is well worth a visit.
  3. Clerkenwell is part of the London Borough of Islington, and has long been home to creative industries. The area is filled with workshops, printmakers, bookbinders, jewellers and clock makers with histories that stretch back to the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s.
  4. In the 17th century, the Clerkenwell area had been a very fashionable place to live and was home to tea gardens, spas and theatres.
  5. In the 1990s, history repeated itself, and the area of Clerkenwell once again became the centre of fashionable living. The district became associated with chic design and loft living and soon established itself as the epitome of cool.
  6. Today, Clerkenwell is home to over 200 architects’ practices and has more creative businesses per square mile than anywhere else in the world!
  7. Clerkenwell Design Week is the UK’s leading independent design festival and is one of the most important design hubs in the world.
  8. In 2018 over 34,000 people visited Clerkenwell Design Week and this year is forecast to be even busier!
  9. A key theme of Design Week this year is sustainability, and visitors to the area will see a focus on natural products, green innovation and ecologically aware manufacturing.
  10. In 2010 there were just 35 exhibitors involved in Design Week. This year looks set to see over 300 exhibitors taking part!

The tenth anniversary of Design Week looks to be bigger than ever, and we’re expecting to see the most exciting street spectacles yet. Chelsea College of Arts will be creating a series of graphic installations inspired by the rich history of the district, and to coincide with this there will be a number of walking tours of the area. Look out for the ten giant, birthday candle beacons that mark a path through the district!