The Mill, Coppermill Lane. E17

“The trouble with The Mill is that it’s too posh.”(Middle-aged Leyton resident. 2014)

I like posh myself and have always rated highly The Mill in Coppermill Lane. Anyone remember my story about the day I first went to The Mill in Coppermill Lane just after it opened for I was on the case at the first announcement about its inception as I’d been looking for it all my retired life.

Cleverly walked The Black Path (only knew that rat alley had such a name from walker and local historian David Boote!) then walked swiftly past the houses down by now deteriorating  St James’ Park with its smelly roses to die for and along the pee-ridden railway tunnel up into Coppermill Lane and turned left making my way for Coppermill which belongs to Walthamstow Wetlands now. Well, not belongs but is looked after by Wild London and Thames Water and is set to become a feature and a half in the European and British scheme of things watery.*

Saw swans on the way and the stationary W12 bus and thought it looked a bit empty and deserted but I was well away. After a while I asked a human on a bicycle and she said “Go the other way”, pointing towards the Market. Silly me.

The Mill is a place where we can go, read a newspaper, enjoy an art exhibition, peruse all the notices, step over escapees from the crèche area and be ignored unless the receptionist is looking up. I make a point of saying hello to a lone woman using a laptop or a group of men playing dice for those may be the only ones I talk to all day, being a lonely widow like.

The Mill has regular art exhibitions and workshops attached. The workshops are usually pennies and submitting work for exhibiting is a tenner a time or a fiver for the unwaged and poor. You see that’s another hub which makes you stick to deadlines and get art work done and finished. Professional and amateur and less than that art offerings are hung on the same walls. My postcard drawing in the past rubbed edges with Grayson Perry’s treasure. I was big-headed then. He never came to see.

There is always a launch night full of grub and drink and Mo welcoming in her own generous way ladling out Mill Punch. There is no membership to go to either the workshops, to present art for submission or to get into the crowded launch nights.

This February 2nd is the launch of “Ink Press Go!” an exhibition about printing by local printers and those having a go at getting down and dirty. It’s also the date of all things India at the William Morris Gallery. Oooh. Choices especially as frequent guests and visitors to The Mill, artist and volunteer Hassan and textile artist Sba, are doin’ their thin’ at WMG.

Want to see real posh? Then William Morris Gallery may be your niche.

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*Here is Wetlands Steve post at Facebook just now.

A peek inside the 1864 Coppermill Tower at Walthamstow Wetlands, which is currently being renovated and converted into a viewing platform, which will offer visitors spectacular panoramic vistas across Walthamstow Wetlands, the Marshes and the Lea Valley. Accessible via lift, the viewing platform will also provide a viewpoint with a wide unbroken field of view from which to spot birds at great distance. Inside the entrance to the viewing platform, there will also be a display about the history of the building and the watermills that have been on that site for over 1000 years.

In 1864, the East London Waterworks Company, added the tower to the rest of the Coppermill building which was built in 1806. The tower which is built in the arcaded Italianate style, is an elaborate chimney for the venting of steam from a Cornish Bull Engine which was housed in the tower to pump water.

The building is called the Coppermill because it was owned by the British Copper Company and used to roll copper from 1808-1859.

It is just the tower that is being opened to the public in the Autumn of 2017, the rest of the Coppermill building will continue to be used by Thames Water for training and storage.

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