Temple Mills revisited

12 September 2008

In May 2008, archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology (PCA) uncovered a 150-year-old cobbled street, building fragments and part of the Channelsea River. Their archaeological investigations were part of the work being undertaken by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and managed by Capital Symons to prepare the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games.

The QuickTime file below lets you explore the excavation trench at Temple Mill for yourself. Click and drag the image to rotate it, and zoom in and out with the + and – buttons. (You can download QuickTime from the Apple website if you don't have it installed.)

Temple Mill (Movie format, will try to open with QuickTime)

Some facts to remember when you're looking at the trench:

The cobbled street was part of the final phase of Temple Mill – the mill complex was pulled down in 1854. The street may be part of the original Temple Mill Lane. The cobbles were laid out over earlier surfaces, and earlier remains included abandoned channels (which had silted up) and structures from the earlier phases of the Mill.

The first water mill on the site was built between 1185 and 1278 by the Knights Templar. In 1308, a second mill was built on the opposite side of the mill stream.

After the Mills’ demolition, the land became built up with dumping. Little of the original topography exists in this part of the Lea Valley. The whole of the trench and the surrounding area was covered by thousands of tonnes of rubbish and rubble over the last 150 years – hence the 7m depth of the trench. Working at such a depth required a massive piece of civil engineering to shore the sides and keep them in place. Staircases were built to access the trench.