The Royal Docks closed in 1981with many businesses relocating to Tilbury. However during the early half of the 20th century, the Royal Victoria Dock became an essential part of industrial Britain and London’s largest centre of flour milling. Rail and water transport links made it an ideal location for business as well as a centre for international trade and commerce.
The Cooperative Wholesale Society (CWS) was the first of the large nationwide milling companies to establish a flour mill in the area in 1901. Joseph Rank Limited followed with the Premier Mill at the Royal Dock in 1904. Vernon & Sons were the last to set up in the area when they built Millennium Mills. These mills converted imported grain from overseas into flour for the London market and were the first in the Port of London designed to take imported grain direct from the ships.
The Rank and CWS mills were demolished by the London Docklands Development Corporation
(LDDC) in the 1990s, along with the Millennium Mills' B and C silos. The D silo to the south is Grade II listed and Millennium Mills itself is locally listed by Newham Council.
All that is left now is the derelict Millennium Mills. a small section of the Rank Hovis Premier Mill and a restored grade II listed grain silo, labelled the ‘D’ silo.
In the foreground is the high level Royal Victoria Footbridge which links the Easter Quay to the ExCel Centre. In the background is the Emirates Air Line (the cable car linking the Royal Docks to the north and the Greenwich Peninsula to the south). Also some of the roof to the O2 Arena (The Millenium Dome as it was once known) can also be seen.