The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has announced the start of a £6million renovation and modernisation project to upgrade historic buildings at  3 Mills Studios.

The works will create new lettable spaces for TV and film production and will “help deliver a world-class cultural and creative production hub throughout the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.”

The 3 Mills Studios site is London’s oldest continuously running industrial centre and is referenced in the Doomsday Book. From the 1980s most of the island become a dedicated centre for film and television production with the establishment of Bow Studios, 3 Mills Island Studios and Edwin Shirley Productions and in the mid-1990s the three studios merged to become 3 Mills Studios.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: “London is renowned as a global capital for film and television and 3 Mills Studios has been central to this success story. I’m delighted to support the restoration of these historic buildings – much loved by filmmakers from around the globe. At a time when the industry is booming, it will enable 3 Mills to play a major role in driving our recovery across the capital and throughout the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.”

Paul de Carvalho, General Manager and Head of Studios at 3 Mills Studios, added “3 Mills Studios has always been a charming place for film, television and theatre creatives to work. These major works will allow us to increase the utilisation of our historic spaces while improving the services we offer across the site and will further add to our creative campus atmosphere. “

The renovations will see the sensitive transformation of several of the site’s heritage industrial buildings, including the Grade II listed Custom House and the historic Gin Still building, into over 10,000sqft of modern creative workspaces, enabling the Studios’ ambitions and capacity to further support British and International TV drama and film production. Custom House will be completely renovated in line with strict conservation guidelines into office space that will suit a creative company headquarters, and the Gin Still will be transformed by the introduction of two new floors of film/television production offices and a multi-purpose creative space on the ground floor, while showcasing the history of the site – including a ten-metre-high copper gin still – in its atrium foyer.

The Studios’ Screening Room will be revitalised into a 60 seat multi-use cinema and presentation space and a significant upgrade will be made to the digital infrastructure across site. Further upgrades to the historic cobbled streets, the Studios’ HV/LV power supply, and welfare services, will also be undertaken.

The works have been made possible by funding from the Government’s Getting Building Fund via a £3m grant allocated by the Mayor of London, and a further £1.9m funding has been provided through the LLDC’s Community Infrastructure Fund. In total, inclusive of these grants, the LLDC is investing nearly £6m into the renovation and modernisation project.

The designs have been completed by RIBA chartered practice Gort Scott with a team which includes the architectural practice Freehaus, and engineers OR Consulting and Momentum. The works contract has recently been awarded to Gilbert-Ash. The projects are being managed by Knight Frank Project and Building Consultancy.

These investments will look to regenerate the local area, develop 3 Mills Studios’ offering to the creative community and bolster strong economic growth benefits including the creation of more job opportunities in Bromley-by-Bow.

Fiona Scott, Director of Gort Scott said:  “We are delighted to be working again with London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and 3 Mills Studio on this sensitive site with extraordinary heritage value and London’s oldest still-surviving industrial centre. To preserve the industrial character of the Gin Still, the design concept comprises a new structure which is ‘inserted’ into the historic envelope creating ‘a building within a building’. This new element will be a simple robust ‘kit of parts’, with adaptable levels of enclosure and separation between spaces, to allow for flexibility and a variety of different uses.”

Jon Creamer

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