The following article was prepared by local historian Andie Byrnes and is reproduced here with her kind permission. Other articles on the history of Rotherhithe can be found on her blog here.
Globe Wharf was built in c.1883 by A.P. Keen and Co. as a granary. It was named after the Upper Globe Dock Shipyard, on the site of which it was built, where Henry Bird Junior had built small ships for the Royal Navy during the mid 1700s and where William Marshall had a timber wharf. The builders of Globe Wharf retained the dry dock, but this was filled in and built over in 1907.
Rotherhithe’s shipbuilding yards had steadily been replaced by granaries and other warehouses as shipbuilders went out of business the requirement for Thames fronting warehouses spread steadily east from Bermondsey. It was probably the single largest Rotherhithe commercial building. According to research by Stephen Humphrey in 1887 it could hold 60,000 quarters of corn.
In 1924 Globe Wharf was converted for storing and milling rice by Thames Rice Milling, one of several rice mills in Rotherhithe. There’s precious little information available about the establishment and operation of rice mills in London, so the following is the tip of a poorly recorded iceberg. Rice milling is the process of separating the white centre (the pieces of rice that we buy and eat) from the various layers of husk and bran that surround it. The milling machine (a rice huller or husker) was invented in the late 1700s and consisted of a feeding chute, rollers of wood or steel that broke up the outer layers and separated them from the edible interior. The mechanism spread rapidly throughout the United States throughout the 1800s and by the 1920s was employed all over the world. Rice, originally imported from Asia, was also grown successfully in Spain, South, Central and North America and elsewhere. Thames Rice Milling is now dissolved.