Mill Meads

Mill Meads, Newham

A historic industrial district situated among the creeks and channels of the River Lea, south of Stratford

geograph-3874074-by-Ian-S - The Limehouse Cut towards Mill Meads

A ‘mead’ was a mead­ow and the mills were main­ly of the tidal vari­ety, tak­ing advan­tage of the twice-dai­ly swell on the Riv­er Lea where it becomes Bow Creek. Prod­ucts milled here from the 16th cen­tu­ry includ­ed corn, gun­pow­der and lat­er grain for gin dis­till­ing.

To the south of the Chan­nelsea Riv­er lay Sir William Congreve’s rock­et works, which made artillery that was used in the Napoleon­ic Wars and the Anglo-Amer­i­can War of 1812. The ‘red glare’ of these rock­ets at the Bat­tle of Fort McHen­ry is referred to in the Amer­i­can nation­al anthem.

The north­ern part of Mill Meads is now pri­mar­i­ly com­mer­cial, with units tend­ing to oper­ate in media-relat­ed fields such as design and dis­play, and there are TV stu­dios at Three Mills. Until recent­ly, parts of Mill Meads near the Prescott Chan­nel were still a marshy wilder­ness, but these have most­ly been lost to the expan­sion of the Abbey Mills sewage works.

Mill Meads are tra­versed by pub­lic foot­paths that form a sec­tion of the so-called Green­way route, some parts of which are indeed green and pleas­ant while oth­ers are an unap­peal­ing assort­ment of grey and brown.

Postal district: E15
* The view of the Limehouse Cut towards Mill Meads on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Ian S, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.