Loquis: Custom House

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Custom House


Published on:  2020-04-29 09:33:00


On the north bank of the Thames in the City of London, it is a building which was formerly used for the collection of customs duties. A custom house has been present in the area since the 14th century, and a building on its current site has been rebuilt on a number of occasions. Today the Custom House is used by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Until 1814 the Custom House stood in the parish of All Hallows Barking, immediately to the east of the present site. The site was long known as "Wool Quay", and, from the medieval period, a custom house was necessary there to levy the duty payable on exported wool. Such a building is recorded as early as 1377. Churchman’s custom house remained in use until 1559, the freehold passing through various hands. Its replacement was erected under the direction of William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, the Lord High Treasurer. This structure was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. With the growth of trade, the opening of the docks, and the increases in duties during the Napoleonic wars, larger premises became necessary in the early nineteenth century. To meet this need, a new building was begun to the designs of David Laing in October 1813, on a site immediately to the west of Ripleys's building. The building is still currently used by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs; however, the government has announced that it is to be closed and sold off in 2020.

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