The Steelyard

The Steelyard was the main trading base (kontor) of the Hanseatic League in London during 15th and 16th centuries..

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Article · * · EC4R ·
December
15
2020
The Steelyard was the main trading base (kontor) of the Hanseatic League in London during 15th and 16th centuries.

The word ’Steelyard’ derived from the Middle Low German Stalhof / Dutch Staalhof.

The Steelyard was located on the north bank of the Thames beside the outflow of the Walbrook, in the Dowgate ward of the City of London. The site is now covered by Cannon Street station and commemorated in the name of Steelyard Passage.

The first mention of a Hansa Almaniae (a "German Hansa") in English records is in 1282, concerning merely the community of the London trading post, only later to be made official as the Steelyard and confirmed in tax and customs concessions granted by Edward I, in a Carta Mercatoria ("merchant charter") of 1303.

The true power of the Hanse in English trade came much later, in the 15th century, as the German merchants, led by those of Cologne expanded their premises and extended their reach into the cloth-making industry of England. This led to constant friction over the legal position of English merchants in the Hanseatic towns and Hanseatic privileges in England, which repeatedly ended in acts of violence. Not only English wool but finished cloth was exported through the Hansa, who controlled the trade in Colchester and other cloth-making centres.

When the Steelyard was finally destroyed in 1469, the merchants of Cologne were exempted by Edward IV, which served to foment dissension among Hansards when the Hanse cities went to war with England, and Cologne was temporarily expelled from the League. But England, in the throes of the Wars of the Roses, was in a weak bargaining position, so despite several heavy defeats suffered by the Hanseatic fleet[citation needed], the Hanseatic forces, consisting mainly of ships from only two cities (Lubeck and Gdansk), with the help of formidable ships like the Peter von Danzig won the Anglo-Hanseatic War and achieved a very favourable peace from the English commissioners in Utrecht in 1474. In 1475 the Hanseatic League finally purchased the London site outright and it became universally known as the Steelyard, but this was the last outstanding success of the Hansa. In exchange for the privileges the German merchants had to maintain Bishopsgate, one of the originally seven gates of the city, from where the roads led to their interests in Boston and Lynn.

Members of the Steelyard, normally stationed in London for only a few years, sat for a famous series of portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger in the 1530s, portraits which were so successful that the Steelyard Merchants commissioned from Holbein the allegorical paintings The Triumph of Riches and The Triumph of Poverty for their Hall. Both were destroyed by a fire, but there are copies in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Later merchants of the Steelyard were portrayed by Cornelis Ketel.

The prosperity of the Hanse merchants, who were in direct competition with those of the City of London, induced Queen Elizabeth to suppress the Steelyard and rescind its privileges in 1598. James I reopened the Steelyard, but it never again carried the weight it formerly had in London. Most of the buildings were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The land and buildings remained the property of the Hanseatic League, and were subsequently let as warehouses to merchants.

The Hanseatic League was never officially dissolved however; consulates of the Hanseatic League cities provided indirect communication between Northern Germany and Whitehall during the European blockade of the Napoleonic wars. Patrick Colquhoun was appointed as Resident Minister and Consul general by the Hanseatic cities of Hamburg in 1804 and by Bremen and Lübeck shortly after as the successor of Henry Heymann, who was also Stalhofmeister, "master of the Steelyard". Colquhoun was valuable to those cities through their occupation by the French since he provided indirect communication between Northern Germany and Whitehall, especially in 1808, when the three cities considered their membership in the Confederation of the Rhine. His son James Colquhoun was his successor as Consul of the Hanseatic cities in London.

Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg only sold their common property, the London Steelyard, to the South Eastern Railway in 1852. Cannon Street station was built on the site and opened in 1866.

The Steelyard, like other Hansa stations, was a separate walled community with its own warehouses on the river, its own weighing house, chapel, counting houses and residential quarters. In 1988 remains of the former Hanseatic trading house, once the largest medieval trading complex in Britain, were uncovered by archaeologists during maintenance work on Cannon Street Station.

As a church the Germans used former All-Hallows-the-Great, since there was only a small chapel on their own premises.




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Wendy    
Added: 22 Mar 2024 15:33 GMT   

Polygon Buildings
Following the demolition of the Polygon, and prior to the construction of Oakshott Court in 1974, 4 tenement type blocks of flats were built on the site at Clarendon Sq/Phoenix Rd called Polygon Buildings. These were primarily for people working for the Midland Railway and subsequently British Rail. My family lived for 5 years in Block C in the 1950s. It seems that very few photos exist of these buildings.

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Steve   
Added: 19 Mar 2024 08:42 GMT   

Road construction and houses completed
New Charleville Circus road layout shown on Stanford’s Library Map Of London And Its Suburbs 1879 with access via West Hill only.

Plans showing street numbering were recorded in 1888 so we can concluded the houses in Charleville Circus were built by this date.

Source: Charleville Circus, Sydenham, London

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Steve   
Added: 19 Mar 2024 08:04 GMT   

Charleville Circus, Sydenham: One Place Study (OPS)
One Place Study’s (OPS) are a recent innovation to research and record historical facts/events/people focused on a single place �’ building, street, town etc.

I have created an open access OPS of Charleville Circus on WikiTree that has over a million members across the globe working on a single family tree for everyone to enjoy, for free, forever.

Source: Charleville Circus, Sydenham, London

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Charles   
Added: 8 Mar 2024 20:45 GMT   

My House
I want to know who lived in my house in the 1860’s.

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NH   
Added: 7 Mar 2024 11:41 GMT   

Telephone House
Donald Hunter House, formerly Telephone House, was the BT Offices closed in 2000

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Paul Cox   
Added: 5 Mar 2024 22:18 GMT   

War damage reinstatement plans of No’s 11 & 13 Aldine Street
Whilst clearing my elderly Mothers house of general detritus, I’ve come across original plans (one on acetate) of No’s 11 & 13 Aldine Street. Might they be of interest or should I just dispose of them? There are 4 copies seemingly from the one single acetate example. Seems a shame to just junk them as the level of detail is exquisite. No worries if of no interest, but thought I’d put it out there.

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Comment
Diana   
Added: 28 Feb 2024 13:52 GMT   

New Inn Yard, E1
My great grandparents x 6 lived in New Inn Yard. On this date, their son was baptised in nearby St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch

Source: BDM London, Cripplegate and Shoreditch registers written by church clerk.

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Vic Stanley   
Added: 24 Feb 2024 17:38 GMT   

Postcose
The postcode is SE15, NOT SE1

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LOCAL PHOTOS
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Bank station
Credit: IG/steven.maddison
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Postal area SE1
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Hopton Street, Borough, 1977.
TUM image id: 1557142131
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In the neighbourhood...

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Bank station
Credit: IG/steven.maddison
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"Cheapside and Bow Church" engraved by W. Albutt (1837) First published in The History of London: Illustrated by Views in London and Westminster. Steel engraved print after a picture by T.H. Shepherd.
Credit: W. Albutt
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Walbrook Wharf is an operating freight wharf located in the City of London adjacent to Cannon Street station.
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Southwark Cathedral
Credit: IG/aleks london diary
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"London Bridge from the Old Swan" by the Irish painter Hubert Pugh (1780) Shooting the tidal rapids at old London Bridge was dangerous; many passengers preferred to get off at the Old Swan, and walk. Immediately across the river in the painting is St Saviour’s Church, now Southwark Cathedral.
Credit: Hubert Pugh (Bank of England Museum)
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The George Inn (1889) On Borough High Street and once known as the George and Dragon, the pub is the only surviving galleried London coaching inn.
Credit: National Trust
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The Church of All Hallows Lombard Street as seen from Ball Alley in the 1820s. All Hallows was a rare City of London church not demolished due to the Great Fire or the Blitz but to falling attendances. Taken from ’The Churches of London’ by George Godwin (1839)
Credit: Robert William Billings and John Le Keux
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The Shard, taken from the Sky Garden on top of the ’Walkie-Talkie’ (2015)
Credit: Wiki Commons/Colin
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Adelaide House from above
Credit: https://manchesterhistory.net/
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Anchor Terrace, SE1 A large symmetrical building on Southwark Bridge Road, Anchor Terrace was built in 1834 for senior employees of the nearby Anchor Brewery. The building was converted into luxury flats in the late 1990s.
Credit: Wiki Commons/Jwslubbock
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