Report - - Millennium Mills - August 2019 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Millennium Mills - August 2019

Sam the climber

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Background to the Explore

This is my first post, so the report and the photography might look a bit newbie - but I'll get better, I promise!

Since moving back to London from Sheffield, I can't climb cliffs on weekday evenings anymore, so I need a new hobby. I've been for an amateurish bumble around The Bishop's Avenue, and decided to go do the Millennium Mills building. It looks really cool, and I wanted to build up a presence here so I can find fellow explorers.

Building History

Being brief, as I actually learnt a lot of this information from this website...

The Millennium Mills building was built in 1905, but has since been severely damaged twice - once by an industrial accident, and once by the Luftwaffe. The current incarnation was finished in 1953, but still bears the '1933' sign along the top, from a previous rebuild. Architecturally, it is in the art deco style, and at this point all of the industrial equipment and artefacts have been removed, as has asbestos. The north wall is now propped up by structural support scaffolding. In its day, the building was one of our island's dark satanic mills: an industrial powerhouse producing flour at speeds unrivalled in any other industrialised country. Today, a construction investment group called the Silvertown Partnership owns the building, and plans to turn the site into an incubator for tech startups.

The Explore

I started off with a 360° walk-around on a Sunday afternoon. This included going across the Royal Victoria Bridge, walking past the Excel Centre, and along a road near London City Airport. I also found it really helpful to look at maps and particularly Google Earth, to get a good 3D picture of the layout.

I noticed a new security hut, not present on the images I had, nor in any Youtube headcam videos from the previous year. It had one security guard in it. It was right by the southwest corner of the main Millennium Mills building, commanding a good view of land approaches from the west and south sides of the building. The north and east sides border the Royal Victoria Reservoir.

On the day, I arrived at 04:00, so it would be dark on the approach, and first light would come as soon as I was inside.

I really, really didn't want to get turned away by a secca this early in my urbexing career, so I had decided carefully on an approach that would avoid being seen. From what I can tell of the urbex community at this early stage, I'm not supposed to give exact details of which doors/windows etc. you can use to enter the building, so I won't do that. But I will say I can comfortably swim at least 100m, and climb at/above a difficulty grade of V1 at an indoor bouldering wall, so there were plenty of options. All in all, the approach had a fun, adventurous feel to it, but was pretty easy physically.

On entering the building, I discovered there are a lot of pigeons in there, trapped by bird netting they'd somehow penetrated, and they didn't seem to have got the memo about this being a covert exercise. I climbed up stairs as they noisily kicked off, and visited the roof area. I descended into different parts of the building. I found a spot with holes in the floor, which I have later noticed in a Spiderman film, and took some pictures with the Millennium Dome or the Excel conference centre in the background, for the pleasing contrast between the old and the new. Clearly I have a lot to learn about photography though.

I had decided on a slightly less adventurous exit strategy, reasoning that it didn't matter too much if I was asked to leave while on my way out. I enjoyed a quick glance at Lightship 93, which is sometimes used for photoshoots or filming. As I approached a gate to leave, I realised that there must be a mouser aboard, as a pleasant gentleman was walking towards the boat with a massive bag of catfood. It was 06:00 by this point. He kindly held the gate open for me, to 'save me a climb', and asked if I'd had a nice night exploring. Clearly the locals are used to the regular stream of explorers coming and going. I thanked him for his help and skedaddled off to my van to have something to eat and sort out my wet kit. Really happy to have got in and out without any issues, and the building itself is a beautiful space that made the effort very worthwhile.


A picture from the original recce. Pictured: Lightship 93 (foreground, red), the Millennium Mills building (white), the Hovis Mills building (left, brown), and the new security hut (small white prefab immediately right of Millennium Mills, partly visible behind tree). The picture was taken from the Royal Victoria footbridge.


Old girders and bits of industrial junk under the Hovis Mills building


The London Excel conference centre, seen through the broken windows of the Millennium Mills building


Holes in the floor of the Millennium Mills building


A long drop down the inside of Millennium Mills


Rooftop decay


Millennium Mills rooftop, slowly being reclaimed by nature


The old and the new: Millennium Mills rooftop (foreground), and Millennium Dome (background)


Urban decay


Peaceful silence: what's left after the noise has stopped.



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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Haven't been here for a while but is always a fun explore. Feels like it is getting closer to the redevelopment actually starting. Who knows though?!

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Ive been wanting to do these for a while now, we planned a trip last week, but it fell through. Great report, excellent 1st report, someones been viewing & taking rules and comments on board. Grand stuff. :thumb:thumb:thumb


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
wikid, i did a tour yesterday on the open house thing. i would have thought development would be well under way. its still an empty shell.


Rum Swigger
Regular User
Nice report......in all the times I went I never noticed the chequered floors...........I guess they may have been obscured by machinery


Reckless & irresponsible
28DL Full Member
Great report :thumb
On sky+ at the moment they have every episode of Londons Burning available to download, series 5 episode 3 is filmed a lot at Millennium mills both inside and out. Fascinating to see what it looks like in 1993!

Adam X

It's a derpy job...
28DL Full Member
Well done on your first report. I absolutely loved this place when it was one of my earlier explores a few years back. The holes in the floor always make me cringe a bit - at the risk of being mum you need to be VERY CAREFUL in there. Sunrise from the roof is a must do for sure. :)


28DL Member
28DL Member
Just got caught there, they now have 2 cars patrolling the area, so be extremely cautious! One does the rounds from the white Silo building and back, one idles/slowly rides in the S/SW side of the main building. There is also a booth on the south and the secca guy was doing a 360 round when we were there, so there are few approach options.

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