150 Stratford High Street

MOLA team
28.11.2008

Museum of London Archaeology has excavated a site at 150 Stratford High Street/1 Warton Road in advance of a development by Genesis Housing Group. Senior archaeologist Bruce Ferguson was in charge of the excavation.

During the archaeological investigations, the substantial remains of an 18th-century watermill were uncovered. The sluice gates, waterwheel house (which housed a massive 15-foot waterwheel), cofferdam and pump house (dating from 1746) were found intact. Earlier phases dating to the 15th and 17th centuries were also revealed. Of note were the massive brick foundations combined with an unusual curved sluice-gate arrangement integrated with the wheel emplacement.

The site is located to the east of the Waterworks River. Waterworks River is a tidal river, one of the many channels near the mouth of the River Lea which make up the complex system of waterways known as the Bow Back Rivers. The Waterworks River was given its current position (along the western boundary of the site) as part of a large-scale improvement scheme following an Act of Parliament in 1930.

A mill stood on the site from at least the late 12th century, perhaps earlier. The original mill was a tidal corn mill known as Saynes Mill, meaning “the Lord’s mill’. In the 13th century, it was owned by Richard de Montfitchet, who is reputed to have built gallows at Gallows (later Stratford) Green.

In the 18th century, the West Ham Waterworks Company (founded c 1745) established works at Saynes Mill and installed a steam pumping engine on the east side of the premises. During this period, two windmills were also built east of Waterworks River to improve the efficiency of the mill.

The West Ham Waterworks Company was taken over by the East London Waterworks Company, which retained the mill until 1883. During the 19th century, the mill was known as Waterworks Mill. It had fallen out of use by 1893.

Genesis Housing Group is now developing the site, which lies at the entrance to the Olympic Games and opposite the Olympic coach station. The development will comprise residential blocks, a hotel, a restaurant and retail units, as well as landscaped river gardens leading to the Olympic Village.

The Genesis development will incorporate the art-deco Warton House. Warton House was built in 1937 on the southern section of the site as a box factory for Yardley of London, the perfume manufacturing company.

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