Designed and built by Mills William Vernon & Sons of West Float, Birkenhead in 1905 Millennium Mills was a flour mill equipped by Henry Simon Ltd that was capable of producing 100 sacks of flour per hour. W. A Vernon and Sons named the mill after their most successful variety of flour which was called “Millennium Flour” after winning the “The Miller Challenge Cup” at the 1899 International Bakers Exhibition.
The original Millennium Mills building was partially destroyed in 1917 following the Silverton Explosion at Brunner Mond’s munitions factory located nearby and shortly after in 1920 the owners Vernon & Sons were acquired by Spillers Ltd who began trading as a flour business but later shifted their core business to the productions of animal feed mainly dog and cat food. Millennium Mills was ultimately rebuilt in 1933 as an art deco styled concrete building.
During the Second World War Millennium Mills was once again destroyed during the bombing of the bombings and would once again reopen in 1953 following large scale reconstruction of the area in the post war years. This second rebuild kept many similar features but added a windowless steel-framed infill on the west side which currently features the Amplify Your Voice ghost ad, street art by one of Americas most famous graffiti artists Shepard Fairey. 42 year old Fairley was quoted in the London Evening Standard praising the city of London for embracing street art. Source
The Royal Docks and Millennium Mills closed in 1981. The neighbouring Rank and CWS mills were demolished in the 1990’s as well as the Silos B and C however D was to remain as it was granted Grade II Listed status along with the Mills themselves which are locally listed by Newham Council.
After many failed schemes to transform the site, in mid 2014 news was that the long abandoned Millennium Mills art deco building would be the centre of a £500 Million Investment in the area funded by mainly overseas investors.
However on the UK government website in January 2015 it was announced that the Mills will be transformed into a business park as a result of a £12 Million government funded project. Works are expected to take 5 years and continues to be part of the above mentioned investment in the area which has reportedly increased to £3.5 Billion. Source
Work has certainly started on the site and there were signs of the beginning of works when we visited. Recently in the news (February 2015) it was reported that a fire broke out engulfing several floors as contractors were cutting metals which released sparks that travelled through gaps in the floor igniting rubbish in the floors below. Source
Visited with Spider Monkey and Andy de Kay of Behind Closed Doors. We had a few hours to kill before our target locations, some high rise buildings we were hoping to scale to get some night shots of the capital, so we decided to stop off at this iconic location and try our luck. The visit was an interesting once since security showed up the second we got out of the car doing a random external patrol we were watched intently while we slowly made our way around the perimeter followed by the security guard slowly in his vehicle. Obviously he had clocked our camera bags and tripods and must have instantly known what we were up to but not phased we soon lost the guard and made our way inside.
We headed towards the rooftops snapping shots on some of the floors as we ascended one of the many central staircases before travelling back down the other side of the building capturing a few more pictures of the old mill rooms. The light was nice and soft overcast with clouds which worked well with the neutral colours of the concrete building. Quite happy with how the shots came out and really glad to finally tick this one off the list:
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