My first visit to the Mills was in July 2008, following my first visit to Battersea. It was dark, we got on the roof, and that was all there really was to it. This visit was more conclusive however, as we saw the vast majority of the two mill buildings on site.
This brooding hulk of a building was relatively un-noticed by me for well over a year, as I chased asylums and the continent, but it was brought to my attention again this summer, when it was added to the imaginary hit-list that fluctuates as other sites, countries and continents catch my eye. I wanted to get the new decade off a good start, so decided this could be my first explore of 2010.
We arrived dead early and made our way onto the scrubland surrounding the buildings. After about an hour of hiding in bushes as the seccas went past, edging closer and closer to the buildings, we bit the bullet and ran over to it. Within about 20 minutes, we were inside Rank Hovis, one of the two Mill buildings on site.
The Mills are a deathtrap. Floors are fragile, there are holes all over, and if you’re a divvy, you could get lost here with relative ease. On the flipside, there are loads of machines, not much grafitti, and a giant building which was part of the rich history of London’s Royal Victoria Docks. Lots to see and do.
We entered Rank Hovis first. This is the smaller of the two buildings on site, and due to the lack of name on it anywhere, people assume the Millennium Mills are just one complex. At one point, the site had another two large buildings on it; these were demolished in the 1980s when the docks closed and were relocated to Tilbury.
Rank Hovis has several floors missing on top of each other. Due to this, we get this interesting vista across the floors.
There were shutes across both buildings, allowing the bagged flour to be transported down to the train lines at the bottom of the site. They could also be taken to the silos, and decanted into the ships. At one point there were 4 silos, now only ‘D’ Silo remains.
Millennium Mills itself is a more interesting building than Rank Hovis. One to appear on the UK urbex scene relatively early, its reminiscient of the old-skool. It’s exciting, there’s fences, security to dodge and rewarding views across London.
The Views from the roof were superb