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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This is what I know

Been very busy chasing my tail to put up RAGWORKS exhibitions. You know you can’t take a car to so many venues in east London because of parking restrictions so thank goodness for buses and trainers. Plus my internet was down as BT had a major fault  at their exchange. I survived.

I have learnt loads and this is the chief thing; that major venues need events managers or managers who know what they’re managing.

Making characters out of discarded material is enjoyable and creative then arranging to show RAGWORKS to the world makes you know why Trace and Dames have agents and minions working under them. It is so nice to get back in and pick up the needle. Yesterday it took me ages to be welcomed at a venue but I should have known as my emails and calls were ignored so I was working in the dark. Ah puff tut. People eh?

How fabulous “Cinderella” looks on the wall at The Mill in Coppermill Lane, E17. Is she Egyptian, Somalian, Turkish? Well she came from my brain so who knows! I am grateful to Mo at The Mill for her support as one artist to another I guess. Wish her the citizen award. And she has a couple of exhibits at The Smokehouse in dire Hackney Wick. Way to go Mo!

On Friday, in the sunshine, a large group of Up Your Street subscribers met at an appointed time at The WaterWorks in Lea Bridge Road to air their views on ‘the Greening of the Olympics’  with Ph.D student Sadie. The venue is very good and the hot chocolate in the cafe extremely good. We all had so much to say and what came out of it and this is what I know is that if it weren’t for Up Your Street disseminating information about all the happenings around the Olympic and Paralympic Games Park then the committed seniors would never have got to Open Stage , A Taste of Hackney, Songololo, Holden Point, Hackney Museum and etc etc where activities spurred on by the excitement of London 2012 were put out as projects.

We had a good discussion around the building works at the back of Leyton Marsh and the upgrading of Dagenham Brook, a herethereto stinky stream. Some of us walked the shaved Black Path on the back of the Argall Industrial Estate and then past copses and Kingsmill Bakery up to Coppermill Lane. It was a fine warm day remember.

What was concluded from the PH.D gathering was that we the residents around the perimeters of the Games 2012 feel abandoned and alienated from the riches of a world event. So to broach legacy was a way in to complete negativity and misery! For me, the greening of the Olympics means that more people go on walks in their boroughs and get to appreciate the beauty. But only some types of people and hardly in big numbers.

Enjoyed a screening of a film about the River Thames by William Raban at The Stratford east Picturehouse. The film was full of beautiful photography and was an eye-opener for most of the audience who had no learnt history of the London Docks. There’s an exhbibtion in Newham currently about the women who worked in Tate and Lyle back in the day.

Up at The PictureHouse everyone had a guided tour of the RAGWORKS exhibition by Gillian Lawrence which was in its glory that day.