Photographs by Claire Watts
Out & AboutPlaces to visit

Cocooned in wood: The House Mill through a photographer’s lens [photoessay]

It has been some time since the streets were awash with gin, but entering the old The House Mill in Bromley-by-Bow brought a snifter of what life was like in the days of Nicholson Gin (circa. 1872). Back then the mill would have kept not only East London afloat on mother’s ruin, but been busy supplying all corners of the world.

For me the smell was the first thing that struck, wood steeped in juniper and age, warmed by the spring sunshine. We arrived on the perfect day. Light streamed through the old latch windows and illuminated the dark corners of the most interesting of interiors. The wood makes up every surface, from repurposed ships knees to beams, planks and chutes of industry. You are effectively cocooned in scented wood.

Victorian machinery peppers the space, creating lines and textures, and making up a charming homage to a once-thriving industrial work horse. It was an absolute joy to photograph. Our trip was accompanied by our very own historical tour de force in the form of Beverley Charters, the most wonderful of ladies whose passion for the House Mill cannot be matched. Thank you, Beverley, for a beautiful day.

Find out more about the House Mill at The House Mill website.

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Claire Watts

Claire is a photographer who lives just off Roman Road in Bethnal Green. Her work centres around environmental portraiture, architecture, interiors, and the cityscapes and urban spaces of the big city. See more of her work at:

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