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At The House Mill

August 26, 2021
by the gentle author

The House Mill of 1776 at Bromley by Bow is the largest tidal mill in the world and the only remaining mill at Three Mill Island on the River Lea, an artificial island created in ancient times – like Venice – by driving thousands of wooden stakes into the mud, for the purpose of harnessing the powerful tidal surge of the Thames. Daniel Bisson, a Huguenot, built the House Mill for grinding grain to bake bread and the manufacture of gin to supply London, and it functioned here until the end of World War II, before falling into disrepair.

Thirty years ago, William Hill saw the derelict mill from the train and came to explore. He became one of a group of committed volunteers who have been responsible for overseeing the magnificent restoration programme of recent years, and it was he who showed me round. We spent a couple of hours, climbing up and down ladders, and exploring every corner of the huge old mill, including those parts not open to visitors – enabling me to create this photographic record.

Initials of Daniel Bisson, builder of the mill, and his wife Sarah

View down the River Lea

Some of the beams at House Mill are one hundred foot long and may be recycled ships’ timbers

Nineteenth century wooden patterns for casting the machinery of the mill

Stretcher frames from World War I

Hopper where the grain was channelled down to the mill stones

The oasthouses and the clock mill

The Miller’s staircase


Pegs where the millers hung their coats

Mill worker in the nineteen thirties

The same spot today

Iron frames for the nineteenth century mill wheels

The Clockmill

Visit The House Mill, Three Mill Lane, Bromley by Bow, London E3 3DU

Volunteers are always required to act as stewards, guides and to run the cafe at the House Mill. If you would like to help, please contact

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Pence permalink
    August 26, 2021


  2. Greg T permalink
    August 26, 2021

    I first went here in about 1972
    It has “cleaned up” beautifully. It was in a very bad way, back then, but the progressive part-restoration, “gentrification” & the moving-in, next-door of Film Studios have done wonders for the place.
    Good to see it now.

  3. Gill Baron permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Thank heavens for William Hill and the likes of! Such a worth-while project and something to be appreciated for many decades to come.
    Now on my list to visit shortly. Thank you William Hill and the rest of your volunteers.

  4. Boudicca Fawkes permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Very evocative pics and great story about thee mill House as you know back in 2015 my husband and I went back there as we used to live in popular which isn’t far from there bravo

  5. August 26, 2021

    I hope it goes on getting TLC, it looks in need of more. And that is a hell of a large crown wheel pattern, some casting it must have needed

  6. August 26, 2021

    Thank you so much for such incredible photos of such an inspirational building. I had an exhibition at The Millhouse, with two friends, about 2 years ago, and you so kindly wrote about the exhibition on your Spitalfields Life blog. It’s such a delight now to be reminded of this unique and astonishing building, with your knock out photos. Thank you so much ?

  7. Janine Battersby permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Just the most wonderful restoration and thank Goodness you have made this wonderful record of it all – I hope it is listed as another London it doesn’t go the way of the Bell Foundry..Thank you for all you do – this blog is my morning read with coffee each day and much admired.

  8. Esther Wilkinson Rank permalink
    August 26, 2021

    It’s a really beautiful spot. We took a boat trip some years back to the (at that point in time) upcoming London Olympics and started from here so had a good look at this hidden gem.

  9. August 26, 2021

    Wonderful place. Thank you, GA for providing, as always, such excellent information & photographs.

  10. Bernie permalink
    August 26, 2021

    A precious, majestic relic!

  11. Linda Granfield permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Such a scrubbed beauty, with so many colours and textures of the wood.
    Add the mill workings’ “sculpture” and this is a delightful, haunting, tour.
    Many thanks to all the volunteers who bring The House Mill to life, and to the GA.

  12. Kay Parrish permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Great photos!

  13. Paul Loften permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Superb restoration project . I really admire those working on it I am promising myself to get involved on one perhaps next year.when my own house is in order

  14. Kasey Grier permalink
    August 26, 2021

    Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic images! It gives me another wonderful site to put on my list when I am at last able to return to England!

  15. August 26, 2021

    Such a wonderful looking building, with a long history, so pleased that it’s now getting the attention it needs.

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