St. Olaf House
St Olaf House, which houses London Bridge Hospital’s Consulting rooms and Cardiology Department, was built as the Headquarters for Hay’s Wharf in 1931. This outstanding example of an Art Deco building was designed by the famous architect, H.S. Goodhart-Rendel, and is one of his best known works. It is a listed building, with its well-known river facade and its Doulton faience panels by Frank Dobson, showing dock life and the unloading of goods – ‘Capital, Labour and Commerce’. The boardroom has been used in several television commercials, including an advertisement for British Airways.
The Chairman of Hay’s Wharf, Sir David Burnett, was also an artist, who created several pieces showing the docks, including the Chamberlain’s Wharf area. As the docking industry moved down the river to Tilbury, it was Sir David who started the commercial development of the area, creating offices, shops, housing and the founding of London Bridge Hospital.
St Olaf House had been occupied for many centuries by the historic St Olave’s Church, which was the parish church for the area, and remained so through all the changes to the district, up to 1928. The tower was a landmark in the area through medieval times, and was replaced by a new tower as part of its rebuilding in the eighteenth century. The new tower was designed by Henry Flitcroft, a well-known architect of the period.
Emblem House (Incorporating Denmark House)
Emblem House and Denmark House, which house London Bridge Hospital’s Outpatient Centre, Physiotherapy Department and Pharmacy were both built in 1900 as shipping and general offices. The larger, Emblem House has an interesting façade, in faience, and Denmark House has a large intricate stone sculpture at roof level, showing a merchant ship. This is typical of the offices that served the adjacent wharfs, which were used to bring in a variety of food products – leading to this side of the Pool of London becoming known as the ‘Larder of London’.
The extensive cellars were used for storage of a variety of items, including the Czar of Russia’s silver reserves, and later that of Lenin’s. The silver was shipped out of the building when necessary in a plain-looking bread delivery van.
29-33 Tooley Street
N29-33 Tooley Street, which house London Bridge Hospital’s Women’s Centre, Cancer Treatment Suite and consultation rooms were built in 1860 as shipping offices. Through much of the later nineteenth century, most of Tooley Street was fronted by very similar four-storey buildings.
These were progressively replaced by the end of the century with huge six-storey warehouse fronts on the north side of Tooley Street, and on the south side by the ever-widening railway viaduct to the busy London Bridge Station.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Tooley Street progressively became a dock road, serving the giant warehouses of the Pool of London, whereas before it had been a route of pilgrimage to Bermondsey Abbey; crossing various fish-filled streams, and fronted by a whole series of large church palaces, as well as the riverside town houses of the church dignitaries.
For more information about London Bridge Hospital’s rich history click here to see our brochure