Hay's Galleria is a major riverside tourist attraction on the Jubilee Walk in the London Borough of Southwark situated on the south bank of the River Thames.

Wharf

Hay's Galleria is named after its original owner, the merchant Alexander Hay, who acquired the property - then a brewhouse - in 1651. In around 1840 John Humphrey Jnr acquired a lease on the property. He asked William Cubitt (who was father-in-law to two of Humphrey's sons) to convert it into a 'wharf', in fact an enclosed dock, in 1856 and it was renamed Hay's Wharf.

During the nineteenth century, the wharf was one of the chief delivery points for ships bringing tea to the Pool of London. At its height, 80% of the dry produce imported to London passed through the wharf, and on this account the Wharf was nicknamed 'the Larder of London'. The Wharf was largely rebuilt following the Great Fire of Southwark in June 1861 and then continued in use for nearly a century until it was badly bombed in September 1940 during the Second World War. Trade declined drastically after the Second World War and the surrounding area became increasingly economically depressed.

Redevelopment

In 1987, with the increasing urban regeneration of the Thames Corridor and nearby London Docklands, the area was acquired by the St Martin's Property Corporation the real estate arm of the State of Kuwait, as part of their 'London Bridge City' development, stretching from London Bridge easterly to English Grounds where it is terminated by the Southwark Crown Court site and bound to the South by Tooley Street. The decision to retain the wharf, a Grade II listed structure, to sympathetically restore its tea and produce warehouses surrounding it, to provide office accommodation and shops, was done by permanently closing the dock gates, covering the 'impounded' area of the dock with a floor to the sill of the wharf-sides and, most spectacularly, enclosing the entire space with a roof, reminiscent of the Victorian railway termini of the same period, to create the galleria. This was implemented by Twigg Brown Architects as part of their masterplan for the renewal strategy. In a fountain at the centre of the Galleria is an acclaimed 60ft moving bronze sculpture of a ship, called 'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, unveiled in 1987 to commemorate the Galleria's shipping heritage.

Activities

The UK Social Work regulator, the General Social Care Council, and the Social Care Institute for Excellence both have their main offices in these converted buildings. The pub at the riverside entrance, 'The Horniman at Hay's' is named to commemorate one of the main tea producing companies associated with the trade here.

Because of its location on the southern Thames Path, its panoramic views over the City of London from the riverside, and the location between London City Hall and Southwark Cathedral the Galleria is public thoroughfare visited by many tourists and local workers. Open all year round The Hays Galleria Market operates seven days a week. It has a resident artist and for more than 20 years has been home to several permanent independent traders,long-term tenants of St Martins's Property Corporation selling souvenirs, touristic apparel and jewellery from traditional barrows positioned in fixed locations in the Galleria, It is close to the London Dungeon, HMS Belfast, and London Bridge, and within easy reach of other attractions including the Monument and the Tate Modern art gallery.

Transport
  • River services: London Bridge City Pier (Commuter service)
  • Tube/National Rail: London Bridge station

Building Activity

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