A run-down compound in Islington will become the world’s largest space dedicated to illustration and home to the works of much-loved artist Sir Quentin Blake.

The House of Illustration can finally wipe its plans off the drawing board and put them into practice – creating an archive for the one of the UK’s best-known illustrators, who drew Roald Dahl’s BFG and Matilda.

Islington Gazette: The current New River Head buildingThe current New River Head building (Image: Justin Piperger)

The scheme will see a group of Grade II-listed buildings at New River Head converted into space for exhibitions, workshops, a café and a shop.

It featured in a recent BBC film celebrating Sir Quentin’s 70-year career.

Islington Gazette: How the Quentin Blake centre could look inside.How the Quentin Blake centre could look inside. (Image: Tim Ronalds Architect)

The location off Amwell Street is named after the New River, which was created between 1604 and 1613 to supply London with clean drinking water.

It includes the remains of one of the last remaining windmills in London.

Islington Gazette: Outside the current New River Head.Outside the current New River Head. (Image: Justin Piperger)

The industrial buildings have been inaccessible to the public for 70 years and there have been problems with antisocial behaviour.

There will be a path linking Amwell Street to Myddelton Passage which will be open during the daytime.

Islington Gazette: An illustration of the Quentin Blake building.An illustration of the Quentin Blake building. (Image: Tim Ronalds Architect)

The House of Illustration hopes to open the centre at the end of 2023 and needs to raise 60 per cent of its £12million target to get started.

Director Lindsey Glen told Islington’s planning committee: “Illustration helps us to understand, to learn and share stories, examine the past, imagine the future. In Islington, I think we’ll see illustration at work.”

She added: “This is a proposal that brings substantial benefits to the borough, including bringing the curriculum to life, signposting young people to creative careers, giving a voice to some of the most marginalised in our community, and uncovering the stories of a place that has been hidden for over 70 years.”

Visitors will be able to explore the new centre and grounds for free and learn more about the buildings’ history through interactive information boards.

Two nearby residents voiced concerns about the impact of light from the foyer and noise from events and toilets.

Architect Tim Ronalds gave assurances that blinds can be fitted to prevent light leaking out from the foyer.

Islington Gazette: Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, Prospective Foyer and CaféQuentin Blake Centre for Illustration, Prospective Foyer and Café (Image: Tim Ronalds Architect)

He said thick walls and sound insulation will stop residents hearing the flushing from a toilet nearby.

Cllr Dave Poyser said: “I think it is a very, very exciting application for Islington’s future.”

The planning committee approved the scheme unanimously.