Abbey Mill in the late 18th Century, one of the ancient mills of West Ham.
The mill went by several names: first known as Wiggen mill, then Honeredes mill, then Abbey mill. Christ's Hospital came into possession of Abbey Mill in the 1680s and owned it throughout the 18th century. Samuel Ball was the Hospital's tenant as miller when this engraving was made. The smock mill stood on a small island in the Channelsea River. It was built in 1768 at a cost of £7,676. There was a water mill to the east of the site and this mill stood on the west, with a small engine house behind (the chimney of which can just be seen in this view). The mill burnt down in about 1861 or 62. It was rebuilt in 1863-4 as a tall brick structure. During the Second World War it was again burnt down and most of the ruins were removed when Abbey Road was straightened and a new bridge built.
This seemingly idyllic scene belies the fact that Samuel Ball had continual trouble with calico printers drawing off water just when he needed a good "head", and polluting the river with their dyes, and with coal and timber merchants damaging walls and locks and obstructing the river as they brought over-large barges up to their wharves. He complained to the Governors of the Hospital that he had spent £1,200 in 12 years on the maintenance of river walls "due to ill use by others."
This is a view of the mill from the marshes and is from an illustration in Fry's History of East & West Ham
Newham Heritage & Archives Ref 13/1/10 -AD18