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The riverside wharves

Introduction
'Another life below'
The wharves before the docks
The wharves and the docks
Wharves of the Pool: the north bank
Wharves of the Pool: the south bank
Other wharves
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Wharves of the Pool: the south bank

Fenning's, Sun and Topping's Wharves

The Rijnstroom in front of Fenning's Wharf and Sun Wharf
View full size imageThe Rijnstroom at Fenning's Wharf and Sun Wharf. © NMM

 These were once separate general wharves with extensive facilities dating from the 19th century.

All three were swallowed up by the Hay's Wharf group. No. 1 London Bridge, a huge office development, now occupies the site.

 

 

 

Cotton's and Chamberlain's Wharves

The Stella Marina with Chamberlain's Wharf in the background
View full size imageThe Stella Marina with Chamberlain's and Cotton's Wharves in the background. © NMM
These former sufferance wharves handled general goods. Chamberlain's Wharf took its name from an early wharfinger, John Chamberlain. Its focal point was the 1862 warehouse, which now forms part of the London Bridge Hospital.

 

Hay's Wharf

Hay's Wharf
View full size imageHay's Wharf. © NMM

Hay's Wharf was founded in 1651 by Alexander Hay. Based around a tidal creek, it was the oldest and the most successful of all London's general wharves. It took over almost every other wharf on the south bank between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

It became known as the 'larder of London' because of its enormous trade in foodstuffs, mainly dairy and meat products and tea and coffee. Up to three-quarters of all London's imported food passed through the group's wharves.

The Ronnskar passing Hay's Wharf
View full size imageThe Ronnskar passing Hay's Wharf. © NMM

 Despite severe damage during the Second World War, the wharf was rebuilt and the group continued to thrive until the 1960s, finally closing in 1969.

The central area of Hay's Dock has now been incorporated into the Hay's Galleria residential and retail complex.

 

South Thames and neighbouring wharves

THe Baltic Sprite passing south bank wharves
View full size imageThe Baltic Sprite passing the south bank wharves. © NMM

This picture shows several small wharves east of Hay's: Stanton's, Symon's, Gun & Shot, South Thames and the Griffin Wharves.

The Gun & Shot Wharf was unique in that it was the only one between London Bridge and Tower Bridge that was not swallowed up by the Hay's group.

Mark Brown's Wharf

Jaroslaw Dabrowski at Mark Brown's Wharf
View full size imageThe Jaroslaw Dabrowski at Mark Brown's Wharf. © NMM
This occupied the site of several earlier sufferance wharves, including one owned by the wharfinger Mark Brown. Its main feature was the large warehouse built in 1906.

Mark Brown's became part of the Hay's group in 1929. The small buildings to the left belong to the Tower Bridge Wharf. This imported hides and skins from the East Indies for the leather trade in Bermondsey. 

Butler's Wharf

Butler's Wharf
View full size imageButler's Wharf. © NMM
The focus of this wharf is the splendid warehouse complex built by John Aird & Son between 1871 and 1873. Some features were changed slightly after a major fire in 1931. The company stopped trading in 1972.

The Samuel Clegg passing Butler's Wharf
View full size imageThe Samuel Clegg passing Butler's Wharf. © NMM
After years of neglect, the site passed into the hands of a consortium led by Terence Conran (1931- ). Fortunately, the warehouses were preserved, and have been converted into a mix of luxury flats, shops and a restaurant.

 

Platform Wharf

Platform Wharf and Cherry Garden Pier
View full size imagePlatform Wharf and Cherry Garden Pier. © NMM
This wharf and the neighbouring Platform Sufferance Wharf were managed by the Customs Fund. This was an organisation set up in 1816 to provide pensions to the widows of customs officers. Both wharves handled tobacco and general goods.

 

 

 

 

National Wharf

National Wharf, Lower Pool
View full size imageNational Wharf. © NMM
A small wharf run by the National Wharves and Warehousing Company. It handled general merchandise. The National Terrace Housing Development now stands here.

 

 

Corbett's Wharf

Foster's Wharf in the Lower Pool.
View full size imageFoster's (Corbett's) Wharf. © NMM
Corbett's Wharf was the proper name for a wharf and warehouse leased to A. H. & E. Foster, who specialised in cereals, flowers, seeds and bulbs.

The wharf closed in 1972 and its attractive warehouse was converted into housing in the 1980s.

 

 


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Glossary
Dock
Spice Islands
Warehouse
Wharf
Wharfinger

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StoriesThe 19th-century port
Docks and industry transform the Thames
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The changing fortunes of Docklands and the port
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