The Albion Four Mill was a technical innovation in its deployment of steam-powered machinery to grind and process corn. However, it was known at the time that corn and corn straw were highly combustible materials; the slightest friction could send a spark from the grinding mechanisms and start a fire. Mill owner Samuel Wyat and designer John Rennie always cited poor lubrication as the cause of the mill’s demise but arson – as a deliberate action against progress – was popularized in the public imagination. William Blake, who lived nearby and frequently crossed Blackfriars Bridge on his way to the City, endorsed this stance when he called the Albion that dark satanic mill. The blackened site lay abandoned for 19 years before its transformation by John Rennie into the Albion Iron Works.
20”x16” (406 mm x 508 mm)