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Smithfield Market, London

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Around Smithfields

The area around Smithfields meat market in central London (near to Saint Paul’s and the Barbican centre) is a fascinating (and little visited) corner of the capital.

To the south is Saint Batholomew’s hospital with the a statue of Henry VIII above the gate (the only statue of him on public display in London) and the pubs across the road were where the “resurrectionists” would sell freshly exhumed corpses to the hospital’s doctors.

The hospital contains a free museum and if you’re lucky enough to visit when the Great Hall is open to the public you can admire the murals by William Hogarth (born just around the corner).

A monument to Scottish patriot William Wallace adorns the hospital wall (he was hung drawn and quartered in the square) and to the east is the lovely St Batholomew’s the Great church, used in the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. [more ]

Smithfield Meat Market

To get off the main tourist trek a little in London and see a gem of a sight which is rarely visited, head to Smithfield Meat Market (nearest tubes Barbican and Farringdon or walk from Saint Paul’s Cathedral). This is London’s primary meat market that has traded on this site for 800 years and supplies the capital (and beyond) with meat, eggs, fish, cheese etc.

It’s housed in a lovely Victorian Building and there’s an underground railway which brings the produce in.

The area is busiest in the early morning when most of the trading is done and as a result the local pubs can have some very odd opening hours.

The area around the market is very historic (see my other posts) and it was in the square facing the market that William Wallace was executed. [more ]

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