Billingsgate Fish Market is located in Canary Wharf in London. It is the United Kingdom's largest inland fish market. It takes its name from Billingsgate, a ward in the south-east corner of the City of London, where the riverside market was originally established. In its original location in the 19th century, Billingsgate was the largest fish market in the world.
Billingsgate Wharf, close to Lower Thames Street, became the centre of a fish market during the 16th and 17th centuries but did not become formally established until an Act of Parliament in 1699.
In 1850, the market, according to Horace Jones, "consisted only of shed buildings ... The open space on the north of the well-remembered Billingsgate Dock was dotted with low booths and sheds, with a range of wooden houses with a piazza in front on the west, which served the salesmen and fishmongers as shelter, and for the purposes of carrying on their trade." In that year the market was rebuilt to a design by J. B. Bunning, the City architect.
Bunning's building was soon found to be insufficient for the increased trade, and in 1872 the Corporation obtained an Act to rebuild and enlarge the market, which was done to plans by Bunning's successor as City architect Sir Horace Jones. The new site covered almost twice the area of the old, incorporating Billingsgate Stairs and Wharf and Darkhouse Lane. Work began in 1874, and the new market was opened by the Lord Mayor on 20 July 1877. The new buildings, Italianate in style, had on their long frontages towards Thames Street the river, a pedimented centre and continuous arcade, flanked at each end by a pavilion tavern. The general market, on a level with Thames Street, had an area of about 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2), and was covered with louvre glass roofs, 43 feet (13 m) high at the ridge. A gallery 30 feet (9.1 m) wide was allocated to the sale of dried fish, while the basement served as a market for shellfish. Electric lighting was also furnished in November 1878 via 16 Jablochkoff Candles.
The opening of the railways changed the nature of the trade, and by the late nineteenth century most of the fish arrived at the market via the Great Eastern Railway.
The infamously coarse language of London fishmongers made "Billingsgate" a byword for crude or vulgar language.One of its earliest uses can be seen in a 1577 chronicle by Raphael Holinshed, where the writer makes reference to the foul tongues of Billingsgate oyster-wives. The market is depicted during Tudor times in Rosemary Sutcliff's 1951 children's historical novel The Armourer's House . The writer George Orwell worked at Billingsgate in the 1930s, as did the Kray twins in the 1950s.
In 1982, the fish market was relocated to a new 13-acre (53,000 m2) building complex on the Isle of Dogs in Poplar, close to Canary Wharf and Blackwall. The freehold owner of the site is the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, but the City of London Corporation still runs the market; they pay an annual ground rent stipulated in an agreement between the two councils as "the gift of one fish". Most of the fish sold through the market now arrives there by road, from ports as far afield as Aberdeen and Cornwall.
Billingsgate Market is open from Tuesday to Saturday. Trading commences at 4 a.m. and finishes at 8:30 a.m. Security for the market is provided by the private Market Constabulary.
Traditionally, the only people allowed to move fish around the market were licensed fish porters. The role dates back at least to Henry VIII, and was officially recognised by the Corporation of London in 1632. In 2012, a bitter battle was fought between modernisers and traditionalists. The modernists won and the role of the porters ended.
In early 2019, it was proposed in plans put forward by the Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s main decision-making body, that Billingsgate Fish Market, New Spitalfields Market, and Smithfield Market would move to a new consolidated site in Barking Reach.
Canary Wharf is the secondary central business district of London on the Isle of Dogs. Along with the City of London, it is one of the main financial centres of the United Kingdom and the world, containing many of their tallest buildings, including the second-tallest in the UK, One Canada Square.
Smithfield is a district in located in Central London, part of Farringdon Without, the most westerly ward of the City of London, England. The principal street of the area is West Smithfield.
The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers is one of the 110 Livery Companies of the City of London, being an incorporated guild of sellers of fish and seafood in the City. The Company ranks fourth in the order of precedence of City Livery Companies, thereby making it one of the Great Twelve City Livery Companies.
The Museum of London documents the history of the UK's capital city from prehistoric to modern times and is located in the City of London on the London Wall, close to the Barbican Centre and is part of the Barbican complex of buildings created in the 1960s and 1970s to redevelop a bomb-damaged area of the City.
Billingsgate is one of the 25 Wards of the City of London. Its name derives from being the City's original water gate, and this small City Ward is situated on the north bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge in the south-east of the Square Mile.
The London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was a quango agency set up by the UK Government in 1981 to regenerate the depressed Docklands area of east London. During its seventeen-year existence it was responsible for regenerating an area of 8.5 square miles (22 km2) in the London Boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Southwark. LDDC helped to create Canary Wharf, Surrey Quays shopping centre, London City Airport, ExCeL Exhibition Centre, London Arena and the Docklands Light Railway, bringing more than 120,000 new jobs to the Docklands and making the area highly sought after for housing. Although initially fiercely resisted by local councils and residents, today it is generally regarded as having been a success and is now used as an exemplar of large-scale regeneration, although tensions between older and more recent residents remain.
Sir Horace Jones was an English architect particularly noted for his work as architect and surveyor to the City of London from 1864 until his death. He served as president of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1882 until 1884, and was knighted in 1886. His most recognised work, Tower Bridge, was completed posthumously.
Old Billingsgate Market is the name given to what is now a hospitality and events venue in the City of London, based in the Victorian building that was originally Billingsgate Fish Market, the world's largest fish market in the 19th century.
New Spitalfields Market is a fruit and vegetable market on a 31-acre (13 ha) site in Leyton, London Borough of Waltham Forest in East London. It is Europe's leading horticultural market specialising in exotic fruit and vegetables. It had previously been located at Old Spitalfields Market just outside the City of London, but overcrowding and traffic problems led to it being moved to its new location in 1991.
Leadenhall Market is a covered market in London, located on Gracechurch Street but with vehicular access also available via Whittington Avenue to the north and Lime Street to the south and east, and additional pedestrian access via a number of narrow passageways.
The Metropolitan Cattle Market, just off the Caledonian Road in the parish of Islington was built by the City of London Corporation and was opened in June 1855 by Prince Albert. The market was supplementary to the meat market at Smithfield and was established to remove the difficulty of managing live cattle at that latter site.
Gooch Ware "G" Travelstead is an American property developer and entrepreneur, born in Kentucky in 1938.
Limehouse Studios was an independently owned television studio complex built in No. 10 Warehouse of the South Quay Import Dock. This was located at the eastern end of Canary Wharf in Limehouse near the Isle of Dogs in London, which opened in 1983. The building was demolished just six years later, in 1989, to make way for the Olympia & York development of Canary Wharf which now occupies the site.
Hungerford Market was a produce market in London, at Charing Cross on the Strand. It existed in two different buildings on the same site, the first built in 1682, the second in 1832. The market was first built on the site of Hungerford House, next to Durham Yard, the town house of the Hungerford family. The house had burned down in 1669 as is recorded in the Diary of Samuel Pepys. It was replaced by a new Italianate market building by Charles Fowler, which opened in 1833. The new market was unsuccessful. It was damaged when the adjoining Hungerford Hall burned down in 1854, and was sold to the South Eastern Railway in 1862. Charing Cross railway station was built on the site and opened in 1864.
Traffic Light Tree is a public sculpture in Poplar, London, England, created by the French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency for the London Docklands Development Corporation under their Public Art programme. Originally situated on a roundabout in Limehouse, near to Canary Wharf and Millwall, at the junction of Heron Quay, Marsh Wall and Westferry Road, it is now located on a different roundabout, near Billingsgate Market in Poplar.
The London Coal Exchange was situated on the north side of Thames Street in the City of London, nearly opposite to Old Billingsgate Market, occupying three different structures from 1770 to 1962. The original coal exchange opened in 1770. A second building from 1805 was replaced by a new purpose-built structure constructed from 1847 to 1849, and opened by Prince Albert on 30 October 1849. This third London coal exchange was one of the first substantial buildings constructed from cast iron, built several years before the hall at the Great Exhibition. It was demolished in 1962 to allow widening of what is now Lower Thames Street despite a campaign by the Victorian Society to save the building. Cast iron decorations from the 1849 Coal Exchange building were selected as the model for the dragon boundary mark for the main entrances to the City of London.
Smithfield Poultry Market was constructed in 1961–1963 to replace a Victorian market building in Smithfield, London, which was destroyed by fire in 1958. Its roof is claimed to be the largest concrete shell structure ever built, and the largest clear spanning dome roof in Europe.
Fresh Wharf was a wharf located in the City of London close to London Bridge, on the north bank of the River Thames. The site was used as a quay in Roman times and later as an unloading place for Anglo-Saxon boats. A wharf was constructed there at some point in the medieval period and appears to have acquired its name from its customary usage as a landing place for fresh fish. In the 16th century, Fresh Wharf was made a "Legal Quay" authorised for the import of certain goods during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It expanded as London's river-borne trade grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, with large warehouses being established immediately behind the wharf. In the 20th century, the wharf's owners took over the adjoining wharves immediately upstream and downstream, built a new ten-storey warehouse and renamed the site New Fresh Wharf. By the end of the 1960s, however, London's docks had fallen into disuse with the advent of containerization, for which they were not suited, and the wharf was closed down in 1970. An office block was built on the site of the warehouse in 1977 and the former quayside is now part of a public footpath along the Thames.
Cox & Hammond's Quay was a wharf located in the City of London, on the north bank of the River Thames a short distance downstream from London Bridge. It was originally two separate quays, Cox's Quay and Hammond's Quay, separated by Gaunt's Quay. On the landward side, the wharf was accessed via Lower Thames Street just behind the site of the church of St Botolph Billingsgate.
Botolph Wharf or St Botolph's Wharf was a wharf located in the City of London, on the north bank of the River Thames a short distance downstream from London Bridge. It was situated between Cox and Hammond's Quay upstream and Nicholson's Wharf downstream. On the landward side, the wharf was accessed via Thames Street. It had a frontage of 78 ft (24 m). The wharf was used for at least a thousand years before being destroyed during the Second World War. A late 1980s office building currently occupies the site.