The earliest known building on the site was a windmill, dating to around 1684, but no details about it survive. Lavender Dock was the site of a shipbuilding yard from 1702 and ships were built at the site until the mid 19th Century. In the early nineteenth century the site was divided into two, Lavender Dock and Lavender Wharf. By the late 19th Century the shipyard had been filled in and it was replaced by a series of small wharf buildings known collectively as Lavender Wharf. The site was further subdivided in the early 20th Century into Lavender Wharf and Grand Surrey Wharf. All remains of the site were erased by the modern Barratts residential development Sovereign View.
The Lavender dock, wharf and lock names come from the name Lavender Street, which was what this stretch of Rotherhithe Street was called during the 18th Century, shown on the Rocque map of 1746, above. Lavender Street was probably named for the growing of lavender in the local market gardens, where I was surprised to learn that it was a popular crop.
Unfortunately, the history of neither site forms a nice linear sequence, and the sequences of both sites are composed of bits and pieces of information cobbled together, but it is fascinating that such a small site should have such a multitude of uses over time.
All the ships mentioned in this post will be covered on future posts, if they have not already been covered.
The site was a shipbuilding yard from 1702 until 1708 when, Stuart Rankin records, Edward Swallow had the site and built ships including the 50-gun Leopard and the 40-gun Southsea Castle. In 1709 Swallow moved to Limehouse.
Following Swallow the yard was occupied by John Whetstone, one of a prominent family of barge and ship builders operating along the Thames. He built a 50-gun ship called Gloucester at the yard, launched in 1745. It appears to have been his only Royal Navy commission, perhaps because it took him two years to build, which was double the time taken by other ship builders in the area to complete similar vessels. It is not recorded when Whetstone left the yard. Rocque's famous map shows the whole section of frontage along Lavender Street between being occupied by shipwrights in 1746 (above right).
|Robert Inwood's frigate Southampton, built at Lavender Dock. From|
British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792: Design,
Construction, Careers and Fates, by Rif Winfield
After Inwood's departure, at some point between 1770 and 1773 the yard was held by a number of ship builders to supplement their existing operations. Immediately following Inwood, for example, the shipyard was briefly taken by the well known Peter Everit Mestaer, who already operated a number of other yards along the Thames, although he was here only briefly. Although it is not recorded which of his ships were built here, it is possible that he took the yard only to fulfil specific commissions whilst his other yards were busy, or that he expanded too far and had to reduce his holdings later on.
Sourced from Wikipedia
|Lavender Wharf and Lavender Dock.|
Rotherhithe Rating Valuation Plan 1862.
From Stuart Rankin's Shipbuilding in Rotherhithe No. 4b
|Ambassador, built by William Walker|
at the Lavender Dock (Thomas J. Duggan 1869)
Wharves are a nightmare to find out about from secondary sources. I've already posted about other wharves and have found that as with many of the almost countless other wharves around Rotherhithe, it is frustratingly difficult to find out much about any of them. Many of them had additional buildings added and removed over time, and not all of the available maps show these transformations. Many of them had name changes, which make them difficult to trace in records. Wharves habitually changed hands many times, sometimes with new owners, sometimes new leaseholders, and tracing their histories is often more a matter of listing names of successive owners rather than learning much about how individual buildings were used, what cargoes were handled and what their owners were like and where they came from. Lavender Wharf is unfortunately no different.
|Lavender Wharf and Dock, from the 1843 Rotherhithe|
Rating Valuation Plan. From Stuart Rankin's
Shipbuilding in Rotherhithe No. 4b.
Following the death of Job Cockshott in 1824, Cockshott's Lavender Wharf lease was taken over by Thomas Beech, also for ship breaking. On the Rotherhithe Rating Valuation Plan of 1843 it is shown as "Lavender Stone Wharf, Mr Manuelle," and there are seven buildings shown, four of which are labelled: sheds, dwelling, blacksmith's shop and granary. The granary was probably the former mould loft, adapted to a granary after the site ceased to be used for ship building. Mould lofts were large flat surfaces that were used to draw out the hull and cross-sections of the ship, drafted by loftsmen, which were then used for templates for building ships. In 1862 William Walker had amalgamated the dock and the wharf until around 1870, when the wharf and the dock were again leased as separate units and the wharf was leased to William Lund. It seems likely that he is the same as the William Lund who commissioned Ambassador from the Walker. W. Lund and Sons established the Blue Anchor delivery line in 1869, and Ambassador was purchased as the primary ship of the brand new line particularly for the tea trade. In 1895 part of the site was leased by a chicory manufacturer.
|Lavender Wharf in 1914, highlighted, which is flanked by |
Grand Surrey Wharf and Lavender lock
|Lavender Wharf in 1937, when it was the premises of W.B. Dick and Co.|
Nowadays the land it inhabited is occupied by a modern pseudo-Regency residential development named, somewhat grandiosely given its dubious architectural merit, Sovereign View, running along the Thames Path. I wonder which sovereign the developers (Barratts) may have had in mind when they named it?
|The site of Lavender Dock and Lavender Wharf today,|
seen from the Thames. Lavender lock is at far left.
Courtesy Google Maps.