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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Lived here
   
Added: 20 Jul 2024 01:13 GMT   

Whitechapel (1980 - 1981)
Diana Lee-Gobbitt - Artist rented a room at No 1 Berner Street, Whitechapel, opposite Church Passage (Ripper territory) for one year, rent approx 3 pounds pw. Worked as Receptionist for n Indian import/export company in the Watney Markets. Owner of No 1 Berner Street was Sammy Ferrugia, Maltese Taxi company owner. The artist was shown the gambling den in Dutfield’s Yard behind the terrace houses. It was common local knowledge prostitution was high end income for those in the East End during the 1950s.

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Added: 7 Jul 2024 16:26 GMT   

Haycroft Gardens, NW10
My Grandfather bought No 45 Buchanan Gdns in I believe 1902 and died ther in the early 1950s

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Added: 7 Jul 2024 16:20 GMT   

Haycroft Gardens, NW10
I lived in No 7 from 1933 to 1938

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Sylvia guiver   
Added: 4 Jul 2024 14:52 GMT   

Grandparents 1937 lived 37 Blandford Square
Y mother and all her sisters and brother lived there, before this date , my parent wedding photographers were take in the square, I use to visit with my mother I remember the barge ballon in the square in the war.

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Roy Mathieson   
Added: 27 Jun 2024 16:25 GMT   

St Saviours
My great grandmother was born in Bowling Green Lane in 1848. The family moved from there to Earl Terrace, Bermondsey in 1849. I have never been able to locate Earl Terrace on maps.

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Added: 26 Jun 2024 13:10 GMT   

Buckhurst Street, E1
Mt grandfather, Thomas Walton Ward had a musical instrument workshop in Buckhurst Street from 1934 until the street was bombed during the war. Grandfather was a partner in the musical instrument firm of R.J. Ward and Sons of Liverpool. He died in 1945 and is buried in a common grave at Abney Park Cemetery.

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Mike Dowling   
Added: 15 Jun 2024 15:51 GMT   

Family ties (1936 - 1963)
The Dowling family lived at number 13 Undercliffe Road for
Nearly 26 years. Next door was the Harris family

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Evie Helen   
Added: 13 Jun 2024 00:03 GMT   

Vickers Road
The road ’Vickers Road’ is numbered rather differently to other roads in the area as it was originally built as housing for the "Vickers" arms factory in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. Most of the houses still retain the original 19th century tiling and drainage outside of the front doors.

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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.
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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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