About the island

Sugar House Island is a canal-side neighbourhood that redefines the way people live, work and socialise, combining the character and community of Island life with the convenience and connectivity of its east London location. A place of opportunity, a place to live, create and flourish.

About Vastint
History & Heritage

1,000 years of history

Sugar House Island’s rich industrial heritage has been moulded by the watercourses surrounding its site for the past millennium.

The Domesday Book of 1086 notes eight tidal mills in the Stratford area, making the River Lea’s mills among the earliest tidal mills ever recorded in England.

The centre of a large circular economy, the mills generated work for mill operators, carpenters and coopers. Initially providing flour for the local bakers of Stratford, the mills turned to gin distilling in the 18th Century. Mash from the gin was used to feed large farms of pigs whose bones supplied the china factories at Bow, whilst their fat was used by local soap makers.

Aerial image of Sugar House Island 1948


Hertitage Textile Chodowiecki Basedow Tafel 21 c Z

Textile printing & Dye works

From the 1600’s the river supported textile related industries including dyeing and silk weaving. In the late 1600’s the silk industry was replaced by calico-printing, with suggestions that the first Calico printer in England was William Sherwin of West Ham.


timeline ink e1692375364611


J&W Nicholson & Co was founded in 1736, it owned the
mill building and was one of the earliest and most famous London distillers.


Luke Howard Clouds Blue Plaque


Luke Howard (1772 – 1864), an amateur meteorologist,
developed the naming system for clouds (such as ‘cumulus’
and ‘nimbus’), and lived next to City Mill lock on the Bow Back
River to the north of the Island.


The Sugar House heritage


The Island is named after a 19th century five-storey brick
warehouse which still stands on site. The original sugar refinery once stood at the top of Sugar House Lane where it meets the High Street.


timeline gin


From the 1600’s the river supported the textile printing and dye works and, Dane’s Yard, at the north of the island, led printing ink and paint manufacturing in the 19th century. The
Dane Group was a world-leading producer of Day-Glo paints.