Place    From 1651  To 1960

Hay's Wharf

Categories: Commerce, Food & Drink

The land between Tooley Street and the Thames has been occupied by wharves and warehouses since the middle ages. Hay's Wharf originated as a Tooley Street brew-house of which Alexander Hay took ownership in 1651. In 1656 Hay let part of the wharf and buildings to the New River Company.  This became known as Pipe Borers’ Wharf and here trees were hollowed out to make London’s first water mains. The Hay's Wharf Company grew to own most of the complex between London and Tower Bridges.  

The current Hay's Wharf Buildings were constructed in 1856 by Sir William Cubitt on the site of the 18th century wharf. Hay's Wharf was one of the earliest complexes to incorporate fireproofing, using incombustible floors of brick arches on cast iron beams. Despite this Hay's Wharf was destroyed in the great fire of Tooley Street of 1861, and then largely rebuilt. The wharf handled all cargoes except tobacco, but specialised in provisions and tea. In the 1860's the use of cold storage was pioneered here and the area became known as "London's Larder". 75% of the bacon, butter, cheese and canned meat needed for London was stored here. In the 1960s the cargo business was revolutionised by the introduction of container ships and it all moved away from the centre of London. Incidentally, don't believe anyone who says the word "wharf" is an acronym for "warehouse at river front". Complete rubbish; the word has an eminently respectable etymology from Old English.

2021: A London Inheritance has an excellent post on Hay's Wharf and nearby.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Hay's Wharf

Commemorated ati

Glaziers Hall

The Glaziers Hall The land in this area formed part of the site of the cloist...

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Great fire of Tooley Street

2021: This plaque has been replaced with a similar plaque, re-branded to prom...

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Hay's Wharf - riverside

Hay's Galleria In the mid 1850's, following the steady rise of the River Tham...

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Hay's Wharf - Tooley Street

The little plaque that you can see at the top of the picture is disappointing...

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Hay's Wharf war memorial

To the memory of those members of the staff of the proprietors of Hay's Wharf...

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Show all 6

This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Hay's Wharf

Creations i

Silver Jubilee - Montague Close

This monument, built with the aid of funds donated by the Pilgrim Trust, was ...

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Other Subjects

H. Lawrence

H. Lawrence

Director of the Brilliant Sign Company in 1938.

Person, Commerce, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
John Spedan Lewis

John Spedan Lewis

Retailer and industrial reformer. Born in Marylebone, the son of John Lewis. His second name was derived by reversing the names of Ann Speed, the maiden aunt who raised his father. He was given con...

Person, Benefactor, Commerce

1 memorial
Charles Robinson

Charles Robinson

In 1835 founded C.A. Robinson & Co.

Person, Commerce

2 memorials
John Morley

John Morley

Manufacturer with premises in Nottingham and a warehouse and offices in London. Father of Samuel Morley.  Our Picture Source gives much information about his life and confirms that he was born in ...

Person, Commerce

1 memorial
Edwin Waterhouse

Edwin Waterhouse

Accountant. Born Liverpool to wealthy Quaker parents, brother to Alfred Waterhouse. With Samuel Lowell Price and William Hopkins Holyland he founded the accountancy firm, Price Waterhouse. Preside...

Person, Commerce

1 memorial