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Hay's Wharf (A trading wharf from 1710 to 1969)

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London's larder
Known for

Hay's Wharf.
View full size imageHay's Wharf. © NMM
Hay's Wharf formed part of the area known as London's Larder because of the huge quantity of food products traded and stored along the Thames near London Bridge.

Oxford undergraduates unloading food ships at Hay's Wharf.
View full size imageOxford undergraduates unloading food ships at Hay's Wharf. © NMM
At one time, Hay's Wharf extended from London Bridge to Tower Bridge, on the south side of the Thames.

Main trade

Tea being delivered from Hay's Wharf bonded warehouse.
View full size imageTea being delivered from Hay's Wharf bonded warehouse. © NMM
Trade at Hay's Wharf included:

  • Dairy produce
  • Lamb
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
Interesting Facts

Tea being landed from barges into a bonded warehouse at Hay's Wharf.
View full size imageTea being landed from barges into a bonded warehouse at Hay's Wharf. © NMM
From the 11th century until the Reformation, the site of Hay's Wharf, in the Borough of Southwark, was the town house of the Abbot of Battle (Sussex).  The house was called the Inn of Bataille, and had its own private quay.  No doubt the Abbot preferred to travel by boat, rather than through the narrow, noisy streets nearby. 

Roman remains have been found, suggesting that a Roman villa once occupied the site.

Life Story
1651Alexander Hay takes over the lease of a brew house by London Bridge.
1710The wharf is officially named Hay's Wharf, and warehouses are leased to other merchants who trade in potatoes, hops, and cider.
1796The majority of the warehouses are now leased by W. Humphrey & Son.
1838Frances, the last of the Hay family to be associated with the Wharf, dies. He had become a Master of the Waterman's Company, and King's Waterman to both George III and IV. He is buried in the family vault at St Mary's Church, Rotherhithe.
1857John Humphrey Jnr employs Cubitt to build a new 'Hay's Wharf', which incorporates an enclosed dock.
1926During the General Strike, the wharf is manned by Oxford undergraduates and office staff, who take over as Dockers and cold-store workers. They live aboard a Baltic vessel moored nearby.
1969The Hay's Wharf Company ceases operations. Developers convert the warehouses to residential and commercial use in the 1980s. This include Hay's Galleria, where Cubitt's warehouses, lofts and vaults are now covered by a high glass roof.

Find out more
StoriesThe riverside wharves
The forgotten part of the port
Fact fileButlers Wharf
A trading wharf in the pool of London from: 1794 - 1972
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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