This project in 2017 explored the history of the Farm’s site when it was a smallpox and fever receiving station between 1883 and 1940. 

We pieced together the receiving station’s full history, as well as fragments of its crockery found on the Farm’s foreshore.  



South Wharf Receiving Station: the full history 1883 – 1940

This document is a year-by-year account of events at South Wharf Receiving Station. It was compiled as part of this project, using the original records of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, London County Council etc. The document also includes the names of staff mentioned in these records, which may be useful for those researching particular individuals or their family history.  Click on the image of the document on the left to download a PDF copy.  If searching for a particular person or subject, use the search box to search by surname or keyword.  (Please note that this document is 298 pages long.)


Metropolitan Asylums Board and London County Council crockery

In this project we also sorted and reassembled hundreds of crockery fragments from the Receiving Station that were found on the Farm’s foreshore.  These can be seen in the display cabinet on the Farm’s riverside path.  If you have found any further fragments, we’d be very grateful if you could leave them at the Farm Shop, or contact heritage@surreydocksfarm.org.uk.


The Blitz at South Wharf

The Receiving Station came to a sudden and dramatic end on the first night of the Blitz in 1940.  In this project we researched the long-lost stories of heroic rescues and amazing escapes from the site, and identified eight men who were recommended for gallantry awards; we also traced many of their relatives.

A mosaic illustrating some of these events was made by young people from the Farm’s youth clubs, and a new information board was created to tell these stories – this can be seen alongside the Farm’s riverside, or can be downloaded from the History Trail page.

Piecing Together our Past – film:

This short film about the project shows the processes of finding and matching up the crockery fragments, and the making of the mosaic.  We hear from some of the researchers about their findings, and meet some of the relatives of the men who rescued people from the site in the Blitz.  The film was made by Peter Gazey of Rope Films.

For any enquiries about this project or the history of the Farm’s site, please email: heritage@surreydocksfarm.org.uk

We also welcome any additional information or memories about the site, and can offer history tours or talks.

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