Lincolnshire Pride

Craft & Design at The Hub

Celebrating its 20th anniversary later this year, the Hub is the home of creativity and design for Sleaford and the whole of Lincolnshire…

The Hub, Rob Davis, Lincolnshire Pride.
The Hub, Rob Davis, Lincolnshire Pride.

Seeds & Creativity both have something in common. They each need to be nurtured in order to germinate. So it’s fitting that the home of the national centre for craft and design is located in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Its Programme Manager is Marion Sander, who is more excited than ever about the potential that the Hub can offer visitors in 2023. We joined Marion in a bigger, lighter and busier Hub after 2022’s refurbishment for a preview of the venue’s upcoming events.

“2019 saw the merger of artsNK, the organisation I’d been employed by since 2008, and what was known as NCCD, the National Centre for Craft and Design,” says Marion.

“Consolidation of the two organisations enabled us to deliver an inspiring programme of creative arts experiences and learning opportunities alongside world-class craft and design exhibitions, meaningful regeneration projects, and festivals, all of which connect with the local community and attract visitors from further afield.”

“Today it’s an amazing place to visit and to work. There’s always something inspiring happening, and a real sense of community.” “We showcase a diverse range of artists and makers in our galleries and our shop, from ceramicists to jewellery and print makers and textile artists to sculptors, and we offer a variety of craft and dance workshops and host regular creative group activities in our new ground floor workshop and studio spaces.”

Last year’s refurbishment sees the Hub larger and better than ever in advance of its 20th anniversary later this year. Back in 1939, though, the Hub and Sleaford itself looked very different.

The town centre, though, was thriving in the respect of its agricultural heritage, home to companies like Charles Sharpe Seeds and Hubbards & Philips, which continued trading right up to the 1970s, and had a particular commercial interest in peas.

In 1939 the latter created its four-storey, steel-framed processing warehouse on the site of the Hub, with its two pea cleaning machines able to process and store for dispatch to customers up to 400 tonnes of peas at a time.

Alas, the business didn’t survive and closed in 1972, by which time fresh investment in Sleaford was needed to reinvigorate the town. Happily, that investment came with the Sleaford Pride programme, a seven year regeneration programme which would include the redevelopment of the old riverside warehouse into a new crafts and culture facility which would take over Heckington’s Pearoom as the area’s heritage and crafts venue.

“The architectural practice Frank Shaw Associates was commissioned to transform the Hub, and in the process, a large double-height gallery with mezzanine level and a roof gallery were created alongside a ground floor retail space and coffee shop.”

“These elements have been reinvented with the building’s expansion in 2022, yielding a new ground floor gallery and a much larger coffee shop with dedicated  kitchen space and a brand new multi-use studio.”

“From its opening by HRH The Princess Royal in October 2003 to its transformation into The National Centre for Craft & Design, the Hub is now a cultural and creative hub for the community in every sense.”

“It is home to many local creative groups including Sleaford Embroiderers, MosArt, Printers Ink, Beyond the Blues, Sleaford Ukulele Group, Craft Club and Pottery Club, dance groups; and hosts a popular open mic evening each month.”

“Our main role, though, is to be a beacon of excellence and inspiration, to motivate and encourage arts engagement and offer creative opportunities for everyone to enjoy, take part in and so unleash their creativity.”

“Each year the UK’s largest gallery for craft & design presents three major exhibitions, which are supported by 10 smaller showcases in our ground floor gallery and window collections.”

“The Hub attracts around 100,000 visitors per year. While most of our visitors come from Sleaford and across Lincolnshire, we also welcome international and UK wide visitors to our venue, putting Sleaford on the map as a great place to visit, and ensuring that its inspiring programme of contemporary craft, design and creative arts remains free for all to enjoy.”

Find Out More: The Hub delivers an inspiring programme of contemporary craft, design, dance and creative arts experiences, in Sleaford, across North Kesteven and beyond, open seven days a week and with free admission, it’s based at Navigation Wharf on Carre Street, Sleaford NG34 7TW. Call 01529 308 710 or see