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11

St Olaf House

St Olaf House, which houses the London Bridge Hospital’s

Consulting and Administration Rooms, was built as the

Headquarters for Hay’s Wharf in 1931. This fine 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 Doulton faience panels by Frank Dobson,

showing dock life and the unloading of goods, ‘Capital,

Labour and Commerce’. Its boardroom, the heart of

this Pool of London Wharfage Empire, has been used in

several television commercials, including British Airways.

The Chairman of Hay’s Wharf, Sir David Burnett, was also

an artist who drew several scenes on the docks, including

the Chamberlain’s Wharf area. As the docking industry

moved downriver to Tilbury, it was Sir David who started

the move to a commercial development of the area, with

offices, shops, housing and the founding of the London

Bridge Hospital.

The site of 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 which remained through

all the changes to the district right up to 1928. The tower

has always been a landmark in the area through medieval

times, and was replaced by a fine new tower as part of

its rebuilding in the eighteenth century to the designs of

Henry Flitcroft, a well-known architect of the period.