Temple Mills is a northerly part of Stratford, south of Leyton, located within the London borough of Newham in East London

Today, Temple Mills is surrounded at present by former railway tracks and works belonging to the Great Eastern Railway. Temple Mills Lane is to the north of the London 2012 Olympic Park


Medieval Hackney was almost entirely rural and so agriculture and related trades were the main forms of employment. Arable crops were grown, such as beans, wheat, oats and barley. This created a need for milling of the grain, and there were several mills in Hackney. Temple Mills were water mills belonging to the Knights Templar, used mainly for grinding corn from their extensive lands in Homerton and the Marshes. The mills straddled the River Lee and so were partly in Hackney and partly in Leyton.[1]

During the 17th century and 18th century, the former Templar mills were used for a variety of industrial purposes. These included grinding rapeseed for oil, processing leather, making brass kettles, twisting yarn, and manufacturing sheet lead.[2] Gunpowder production at the mills led to a tragedy on the night before Easter 1690, when Peter Pain (a Huguenot refugee from Dieppe) was blown up together with two of the mills, three stone houses, and a vast quantity of gunpowder manufactured by him for the government. His family, and a French minister, also died in the blast.[3]

Temple Mills was the also the site of Chobham Farm, a meat cold storage warehouse. A strike and picket of the site in July 1972, led to the arrest and imprisonment of five trade unionists known as the Pentonville Five. The dispute spread nationally becoming a cause celebre for the trade union movement and created a political crisis.

As Temple Mills is located in part of the Lower Lea Valley, it is often subject to flooding.[4]


Railway works

Modern Stratford was built as a 'new town' initially called "Hudson' Town" after George Hudson the railway entrepreneur and it was the location of the Eastern Counties Railway's and then the Great Eastern Railway's railway works.

Located at Temple Mills, the first locomotives built in 1850, were passenger tank locomotives, designed by J.V.Gooch, brother of the GWR's Daniel Gooch. There was also the first recorded attempt at a compound locomotive using a modified two-cylinder goods engine. The works was the primary locomotive building plant for the GER, but after the grouping it was wound down by the LNER and its main occupation was then repairs and major overhauls, and as a carriage works.

The main depot and works closed in 1963.

Temple Mills TMD

51°33′44.1″N 0°1′43.3″W / 51.56225°N 0.028694°W / 51.56225; -0.028694
The residual diesel repair shop closed in 1991. A small Traction Maintenance Depot survived for EWS and Railtrack for a period, but that was closed in 2007. The depot code was TD.

Eurostar depot

51°33′36.4″N 0°1′21.8″W / 51.560111°N 0.022722°W / 51.560111; -0.022722
Temple Mills is the site of the £402 million replacement maintenance depot for all Eurostar sets in the UK. Located near Stratford International and on the edge of the Olympic Park, it replaced the North Pole depot over the course of late 2007, with operations to coincide with the opening of the new international terminal at St Pancras railway station.

Temple Mills depot is designed to house eight train-roads.[5] The overall dimensions of the 8-road shed is just under 450m long by 64m wide, with a floor to ceiling height of approximately 12m. High level walkways in the trusses provide access to the shed services and facilities.[6]


From 2007 Stratford will be the location of Stratford International station on High Speed 1, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and in 2012 the location of the main Olympic Park, which will contain a significant number of venues to be used in the 2012 Summer Olympics, including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, and London Velopark.

Stratford has been a focus of regeneration for some years and as of 2006 the seventy three hectare brownfield railway lands to the north of the town centre and station are to be redeveloped in a multi-billion pound scheme called Stratford City, centred on Temple Mills. This will form a new purpose-built community of 5,000 homes, offices, retail spaces, schools, public spaces, municipal and other facilities. It is hoped that this will become a major metropolitan centre for East London. Part of Stratford City will serve as the Olympic Village


  1. A local history project accessed: 20 October 2006</span> </li>
  2. Mills Victoria County History, Essex, 6 (1973), pp. 197-205. </li>
  3. Robin D. Gwynn Huguenot Heritage: The History and Contribution of the Huguenots in Britain pp. 94 (Sussex Academic Press, 2001) ISBN 1902210344 </li>
  4. Flooded tracks in 1919 (image) accessed: 20 October 2006 </li>
  5. Channel Tunnel (transport projects in London) accessed: 20 October 2006 </li>
  6. Arups: Temple Mills train depot accessed: 20 October 2006 <-part reference? </li></ol>

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