Loveday’s London Waterside Surveys of 1857: The Second in a Series Celebrating the Totally Thames Festival



James Thomas Loveday, of the Phoenix Fire Office spent two and a half years creating and compiling these plans of wharves and granaries along the Thames to assess fire risk for insurance purposes. The plans he produced for business purposes are now invaluable to London historians and genealogists.

This volume held at Guildhall Library, covers an area on the south bank of the Thames from London Bridge to the Globe Granary at Rotherhithe and on the north bank from London Bridge to Tower Dock.

Although Loveday was the “Surveyor of Risks” for the Phoenix Fire Office, he seems to have published the volume himself. The names of the twenty eight subscribers to the volume are listed including those of several other fire insurers e.g. The Sun Fire Office & the Unity Fire Insurance Association. The volume was priced ten pounds and ten shillings to subscribers and twelve pounds and twelve shillings to other purchasers.

The title page of the volume tells us that the plans show wharves and granaries “with the buildings connected therewith…with a description of their occupancy, construction, use and internal and external risk, each accompanied with a plan and report sufficient for an immediate adjustment of rate and preceded by …copious indexes” (Loveday, 1857, preface)

Historians and genealogists alike will find these ‘copious indexes’ very useful. Loveday indexed by occupier, granary keeper (business name), granary title, wharf and quay and by ‘street and stairs’ i.e. Seven Star Alley.

This is Loveday’s plan of Butler’s Wharf showing Mr J Knight’s Granary, brick built and on four floors.  Offices and warehouses are plotted and annotated as is the position of the George Public House, the wash houses, shops and private dwellings.


This plan of Dock Head Wharf/St Saviour’s Dock shows a cooperage at the centre marked with the extent of the timber within.  Around the cooperage stands a ‘lofty, ground floor hoop store’, the saw pit, other stores, a dwelling and an office, the Crown and Sceptre public house and the workshops.


Guildhall Library is a public reference library and you are welcome to visit to view this volume and others on London’s history and the history of the docks. More details and a link to our catalogue can be found on our website

Written by: Jeanie Smith – Assistant Librarian and Keeper of the Lloyd’s Marine Collection
Photographs by: Elisabeth Dew – Library Assistant


1 thought on “Loveday’s London Waterside Surveys of 1857: The Second in a Series Celebrating the Totally Thames Festival

  1. Pingback: Gobbets of the week #25 | HistoryLondon

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