Our mission is to be a world-class centre and resource dedicated
to the celebration, support and promotion of national and international contemporary craft and design. We aim to stimulate greater understanding of contemporary craft and design and provide enriching arts and cultural experiences for everyone, through a dynamic programme of high quality exhibitions, participatory learning, events and retail.
From small seeds has grown a superb national centre. In the beautiful setting of Navigation Wharf in Sleaford sits an old
seed warehouse. But it’s not what you’d expect, for this
converted warehouse is home to British craft and design.
We are the largest venue in England entirely dedicated to the exhibition, celebration, support and promotion of national and international contemporary craft and design.
Under one roof, our five gallery spaces showcase up to 20 world-class exhibitions every year from the most innovative, challenging and accomplished artists to new and emerging talent.
Our stimulating learning programme inspires people of all ages, skills and interest levels and our shop is a cultural haven for the latest contemporary handmade products.
We are also home to Design Factory, the UK’s leading professional development organisation for British designer-makers and artsNK, the country’s largest rural arts development agency that specialises in visual and performing arts projects.
The National Centre for Craft & Design started life at The Pearoom in Heckington. The Pearoom was built in 1870 by the Great Northern Railway Company and shortly afterwards was leased
to the internationally renowned seed firm of Charles Sharpe of Sleaford. Sharpe used it as a pea-sorting warehouse right up until 1961. Locally grown peas were brought to the Pearoom by horse and cart with peas from further afield being delivered by rail for sorting and then exporting.
In the 1970s, with the help of Government grants; fundraising activities; hard work by many volunteers; and leadership by the Heckington Village Trust, the Pearoom was converted into a heritage, craft and tourism centre for the village. It was operated by the Village Trust and a team of dedicated volunteers until a licence was granted by the trust for North Kesteven District Council.
The Pearoom established itself as a contemporary craft centre, displaying a range of exhibitions through two gallery spaces and delivering a short course programme and unique shop. Artist workshops and a café also attracted some 30,000 visitors each year.
When the lease expired on the building, The Pearoom moved to a new home in Sleaford, where the opportunity to develop and build the Centre and resource was realised through one of 13 major projects completed as part of a seven year Sleaford Pride Regeneration programme.
The development of The Hub was a £2.4 million refurbishment of the old Hubbards and Philips Seed Warehouse in Navigation Yard, Sleaford.
The original building which opened in 1939 was a steel framed four-storey structure of normal brick construction with wooden floors designed to accommodate the substantial floor loadings from the processed seed. The roof was a flat construction with a brick parapet running the full four sides of the building. Two pea cleaning machines of differing sizes were installed and at a later date the original extract pipe work was replaced by cyclones to enable the dust extract to be collected at the base of the building. At times, upwards of 300/400 tons of peas were stored in sacks throughout the various floors – and it is said one particular gentleman used to carry 16 stone sacks between the floors. As trade reduced the business closed in 1972 and was subsequently used as a storage area by A. Hatcher and Sons.
The redevelopment approach taken by the architects, Frank Shaw Associates, was sympathetic and reflective of the industrial heritage of the old building. Original exposed steel work combined with the use of modern materials such as the stainless steel architraves and lighting panels in the main gallery, give reference to the building’s past. One floor was removed from the four storey building to create a double height main gallery at first floor level with original exposed steel beams. A small mezzanine floor space, is the only reminder of the floor that was removed. A Roof Gallery was added to the roof of the original building restoring the building to four floors. This gallery is flanked by two viewing galleries which provide a superb view of Sleaford’s roofscape to the west and along Sleaford Navigation to Haverholme Lock and beyond to the east. A new extension was added to provide a lift, staircase and craft workshop to the north and a fire escape was added to the south.
The final stage of the Navigation Yard project was the repair, restoration and re-use of the Navigation House enabling visitors
to learn about the history of Sleaford Navigation, and also the creation of craft workshops.
The Hub opened its doors on 7 October 2002 by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal and it was recognised as a nationally significant development by the Arts Council of England in 2003.
The Sleaford and District Civic Trust recognised the Hub for the quality of its building work and design. The Green Organisation also awarded a Silver Green Apple Civic Pride Award to the Centre. Both these awards are given for projects that enhance the environment and give a sense of civic pride.
The origins in the Pearoom and the old Hubbard & Phillips Seed Warehouse will never be forgotten. The transformation of the former Hubbard & Phillips Seed Warehouse to The Hub, included funding for a series of commemorative commissioned art projects:
Visitors are greeted with the words “This used to be a seed warehouse. It still is”. A leather plaque with gold leaf lettering
by Tracey Routledge.
Exhibition benches produced by Electric Wig are still in use in our galleries today.
Sam Buxton, designer and producer of Mikroworld, produced
a laser cut stainless steel piece, which is currently on loan.
Andreas Lang and Kathrine Bohme produced the courtyard piece, ‘The Sampler’, a structure of seats, tables and canopies.
Funding for the original development was made available through European Funding, East Midlands Development Agency, Lincolnshire County Council, North Kesteven District Council and the Sleaford Pride Single Regeneration Bid Partnership.
Over the years The Hub developed a strong reputation within the national museum and gallery sector as a unique and ambitious gallery that exhibits the most innovative, challenging and accomplished artists practicing within the craft and design arena today. Recognised as being ‘at the top of its game’ by Arts Council England, The Hub re-branded as The National Centre for Craft & Design in 2011.
This used to be a seed warehouse…it still is!
The National Centre for Craft & Design
Navigation Wharf, Carre Street
Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7TW
FREE entry, donations welcome.
Charges apply for some workshops and events.
We are open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New year’s Day from 10am to 5pm and 10am to 4pm on Bank Holidays.
Make your visit to The National Centre for Craft & Design a day out! Sleaford is an old Lincolnshire market town that boasts a range of attractions. Adjacent to the NCCD you will find Navigation House, the former canal office of the Sleaford Navigation Company. A picturesque riverside walk from NCCD leads by way of Lollycocks Field and the Nettles nature and wildlife areas to the award winning Cogglesford Watermill, an historic, renovated and operational flour mill. Regular markets are held in the market square with a popular Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of each month. Whilst here you must also visit St Deny’s Church, a Grade I listed Church notable for having one of the oldest stone broach spires in England and an altar rail designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Please note that from time to time photographs may be taken throughout NCCD for Marketing purposes. This is especially likely during special events and workshops. If you do not wish to be in these photographs please let us know at Reception on arrival.
How to Find Us
The National Centre for Craft & Design is located in the centre of Sleaford on Navigation Wharf. We are accessible from all major transport routes:
Lincoln, Newark, Boston and Grantham are a 20–30 minute drive away. The A15 and A17 routes pass directly through Sleaford linking to the A1 within 20 minutes.
If you are travelling by car, please use NG34 7DW for sat navs and follow the brown signs which are displayed on all approaches to the town.
Eastgate car park is directly adjacent to the Centre. Mon–Fri
1st hour free then £1 per hour and £3 all day. Sat and Sun and Bank Holidays are free. Disabled spaces are available.
We are a 5 minute walk from Sleaford train station which is serviced by East Midlands Trains. Sleaford is 1.5 hours from London and 1 hour from Nottingham and Leicester.
National Express coaches have a service to Sleaford from London and from other major cities and towns. Sleaford is locally serviced by Centrebus and Stagecoach.
Our nearest airports are Doncaster Robin Hood International, Humberside and East Midlands which are all approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from The National Centre for Craft & Design.
Volunteer opportunities are currently unavailable
Find something you love…love something you find…
Our shop is an ever-changing place to discover something new and beautiful for you and your home. From handmade contemporary craft, made by some of Britain’s top craft and design talent, to quirky design objects, books and magazines, art supplies, craft kits, toys and gifts, you can be sure to find something you love and love something you find.
Our craft and design assistants are on hand to help you find that something special and can also help you with commissioning bespoke items.
Apply to sell your work
If you are interested in selling your work in the shop email [email protected] with high resolution images of your work and/or a link to your website, along with retail prices.
We currently stock the work of over 100 makers so here is just a taster of the new work that has arrived this month. To keep up to date with shop news head over to our Instagram.
Set on Navigation Wharf, our café is a great place to meet up
with friends and family or hold a business meeting.
We serve a locally produced seasonal menu of good, home-made food, cakes and a specials board with consideration of special dietary requirements.
Our café is open daily from 10am to 4pm and 10am to 2pm on Bank Holidays. We are open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Come along and enjoy a game of Scrabble every Thu & Sun
Riverside Café, toilets, accessible toilets and baby changing.
We endeavour to be fully accessible but please ask a member of staff if you require assistance. Our Centre is wheelchair and buggy friendly. The building and facilities are fully accessible on all levels and there is lift access to the upper floors. Mobility buggies are available on request.
Euan’s Guide provides information about the accessibility of a range of venues across the UK. Read about the experience of one visitor to The National Centre for Craft & Design here
We warmly welcome groups and individuals to explore The National Centre for Craft & Design and can offer free accessible tours of our exhibitions that are tailored to meet the needs of individual groups.
We also deliver a bespoke programme of educational workshops, lectures and events to support and extend the national curriculum. Each main gallery exhibition is supported by an education resource pack full of ideas, projects and activities to inspire cross-curricular learning across ALL key stages.
If you would like to plan a group or educational visit to NCCD, please contact [email protected] +44 01529 308710.
We currently have the following vacancies:
The National Centre for Craft & Design aspires to be a world-class centre dedicated to the celebration, support and promotion of national and international contemporary craft and design.
Access to our exhibitions, special events and some of our learning programmes is FREE and open to all. In order to keep these free, NCCD must raise funds to help deliver its internationally-renowned programme of great craft and design.
We are supported by public funding from North Kesteven District Council and Arts Council England, charitable grants from trusts and foundations and from income we raise through our shop and café. As a trust, our work is crucially supported by individuals and businesses too.
There are lots of ways to support NCCD be it through donations, sponsorships or volunteer time. We are extremely grateful to all
our supporters, without whom much of our programme would
not be possible.
Donate to Us
Now, more than ever, we rely on donations from visitors and supporters to maintain and develop our work and keep access to our exhibitions and special events FREE. Donations can be made through our galleries, by post and by shopping online.
Through our galleries: Pop into the NCCD and donate in one
of our gallery donation boxes.
By post: Please send a cheque made payable to ‘Leisure in the Community Trust’ to Gallery Administrator, NCCD, Navigation Wharf, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 7TW
We can offer exclusive opportunities for business to work in partnership with The National Centre for Craft & Design. We can develop a bespoke sponsorship package, large or small, that will help you achieve your aims by supporting what we do. We’ll work with you to identify which areas of our activity will benefit your business the most – this could be our world-class exhibitions, special events, learning programmes, a one-off event, or you could become a regular sponsor of our full artistic programme.
For further information contact us by email: or telephone 01529 308710
Become a Friend
For £25 per year, you can become a friend of NCCD as an individual, family, school or business. You can actively support our activities and help us to continue to offer FREE craft and design for everyone, and there are great benefits for you.
– Personal invitation to exhibition previews
– 10% discount in our shop and café
– Special friends events, including social activities, group visits, lectures, tours and fundraising events
– Special newsletters with ‘hot off the press’ news
on our programme
For further information contact us by email: or telephone 01529 308710
Our latest Guide, Learning Programme and Education Pack can be downloaded in PDF format:
For more information or to book a place on a workshop or activity please email [email protected] or call 01529 308710.
The National Centre for Craft & Design Navigation Wharf,
Carre Street Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 7TW
+44 (0)1529 308710
If you have a specific query, please feel free to
direct it to our teams: