HISTORY OF QUEENHITHE
Queenhithe is a ward of great historical interest. Key moments in its long history include: Originally a Roman harbour – one of the first areas in the region occupied by the Romans. In Saxon times, the dock was known as “Aeðereshyð”, later “Ethelred’s Hythe”.
It is known that the dock existed when Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, re-established the City of London, circa 886 AD. A plaque commemorating this event was unveiled at Queenhithe Dock in 1986.
The dock became known as Queenhithe when Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, was granted duties on goods landed there.
Queenhithe harbour was used for importing corn into London and continued to be in use into the 20th century.
King Charles II landed at Queenhithe during the Great Fire of London in September 1666 to view the extent of the destruction and, it is said, to assist in the firefighting.
World War II bombing destroyed approximately three-quarters of the ward’s buildings: the only listed buildings that remain from before World War II are St Benet Church, Paul’s Wharf, and the tower of the former St Mary Somerset Church.
The dock, including the wharf walls and adjacent street, was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1973; it is the only surviving inlet on the modern City’s waterfront.
A key sequence of the 1951 Ealing comedy The Lavender Hill Mob used Queenhithe as a location for filming: Mr. Holland, played by Alec Guinness, can be seen falling from a wharf into the Thames and being rescued by two actors dressed as police officers.
Construction of the Millennium Bridge began in 1998 before its opening in 2000.
The Queenhithe Mosaic – plotting the history of the Ward from Roman times to the present day – was opened in 2014. This is a superb community project which was conceived by Alderman Gordon Haines.
Other places of interest in Queenhithe Ward:
The City of London School, at No. 107, Queen Victoria Street
The Salvation Army‘s international headquarters, at No. 101, Queen Victoria Street, on the corner of Peter’s Hill;
The Painter Stainers’ Hall, at No. 9, Little Trinity Lane. This houses the offices of a number of other London Livery Companies;
Sources: City of London Library, City of London Corporation, Wikipedia, Author’s records, University of London.