Hidden London

Temple Mills

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Newham/Waltham Forest

An industrial, commercial and railway area beside the River Lea in west Leyton. A crossing point on the river brought early human activity and evidence has been found of a Roman camp nearby. In 1185 William of Hastings, steward to Henry II, granted land here to the Knights Templar, who later built wooden watermills. After the dissolution of the order in the 14th century their property passed through a variety of hands (including the Crown’s) and milling and related agricultural industries continued to grow. A White Hart tavern stood at Temple Mills from the early 18th century. In the latter part of the 19th century the mills were demolished and the Great Eastern wagon works were moved northwards from Stratford, with marshalling yards spreading inexorably. The works were modernized in 1958 as part of a programme that made them the largest in Britain. British Rail later added a Freightliner terminal. In 1991 the Corporation of London relocated Spitalfields market to a site north of Ruckholt Road and the A12 was extended across Temple Mills later in that decade. Until recently, the area’s other principal occupant was the Lee Valley sports centre. Elsewhere there is derelict wasteland, recolonized by grasses, bracken, bramble, thistle and fleabane. Temple Mills has recently been scarred by construction work on the Channel Tunnel rail link and is being transformed for the 2012 Olympic Games. The Paralympics tennis and archery centre and an athletes’ area will be built north of the A12 Eastway, with the velopark to the south, replacing the former Eastway cycle circuit. The Olympic village is being laid out to the south-east, on former railway lands and in place of existing social housing, a travellers’ site and students’ accommodation in the surprisingly hilly Clays Lane area.
click for area map (opens in a new window)
The image above shows the 2007 demolition of housing in the Clays Lane area in advance of Temple Mills’ Olympic transformation.
Postal districts: E10 and E15

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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