Seven Mills

Primary School

Ambitious, Compassionate
& Empowered

History of Seven Mills

Many people are unaware that nestled amongst the impressive buildings of Canary Wharf lies a community that has been here for generations.  This community, our community, historically depended on the docks and the river for their livelihoods and were known as the Islanders.  Islanders have lived here since before the First World War and survived the Blitz of World War II.  After the war, council housing was built all over the island to replace homes that had been destroyed. The Barkantine Estate was built to create a “modern and spacious environment in which people could play and live”.  By the late 1960s, the estate was underway, with a temporary primary school located at the heart of it.  That was Seven Mills.  The recession of the 1980s and the development of the financial centre at Canary Wharf in the 1990s has seen the island change dramatically.  But throughout that time, Seven Mills Primary School has been a central part of the community and is now home to a new generation of Islanders.

Originally built alongside the Barkantine Estate in 1967, Seven Mills was named after the seven windmills which once stood on the western side of the Isle of Dogs over 300 years ago.  The mills were named after local mill owners, the Browns, Smiths, Bakers, Chimms and Wards.  Now in it’s 53rd year, below are just some of the significant dates in our history:

  • Opening ceremony in 1968

  • Seven Mills has always had a strong relationship with our neighbouring schools and in 1994, our children visited a building site on Westferry Road and helped officials lay the first stone of the new Arnhem Wharf school.

  • Seven Mills children met Queen Elizabeth at the opening of Billingsgate Market

  • In 1996, the IRA bombing at South Quay DLR Station shook the foundations of Seven Mills, blowing out the windows of our school hall.

  • For the turn of the millennium in 2000, Seven Mills, alongside the British Legion, attended the Millennium Dome

  • In 2004, our Nursery extension was developed and our off-site EYFS unit at Mellish Street moved to join the rest of the school.

  • In 2005, Seven Mills children performed in a gymnastics and dance display at Trafalgar Square to represent the ‘Best of British’ at the announcement of London’s successful Olympic bid

  • In 2006, then Prime Minister, Tony Blair visited the school, taking part in a phonics lesson and listening to children read.

  • In 2017, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary

  • In 2018, our annexe was completed and is now home to a brilliant parents' room and dedicated Music classroom

  • In 2020, extensive building work created a new EYFS unit, with Reception and Nursery sharing an exciting, specialist space and a newly refurbished library and KS2 classrooms

If you know of any other important dates in Seven Mills history, please contact Amy through the school office


1703 map of the seven mills along the west side

1703 map of the seven mills along the west side

Opening Ceremony 1968

Opening Ceremony 1968

Opening Ceremony 1968

Opening Ceremony 1968