Tag: markets

How meat and water designed part of London: the drovers’ route from Islington to Smithfield, a new walk from London Open City

Last week I led a walk exploring the drovers’ route from the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington to Smithfield Market. This took in the New River, the history of Sadler’s Wells, Spa Green and especially the impact of the movement of meat and water on the design and development of the route along St John’s Street to Smithfield.

I will be leading this walk again on Saturday 26th September at 2pm, starting at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Find out more and book at Open City
The Central Market, likely now to be turned into a new Museum of London

The only retail butcher in Smithfield

One of four domes at the corner of the main meat market

A decoration across the entrance to the Smithfield Tavern

A boar insignia above a shop

The meeting point of St John's Street and Cowcross Street, a market meeting the drovers' route

One of three cold stores in the market

One of three cold stores in the market



New guided walks announced on South Bank and City of London landscapes

Over the summer I am leading a number of new guided tours with London Open City the architecture education charity.

Here are the details:

London Landscape – From St Paul’s to Leadenhall

City of London improvements to CheapsideOver the centuries the unique landscape of London has been shaped by its public spaces, including its distinctive streets, squares and parks.

London’s historic core has gone through significant renewal over the past ten years, designed to meet the needs of the banking sector. In addition the City of London Corporation has been focusing on the needs of local residents as well as tourists by creating new landscapes, gardens and public spaces.

This one-off special walking tour looks at the investment in landscape and public realm to create a greener and more pedestrian-friendly environment in the heart of London, from the new gardens of St Paul’s Cathedral to the public spaces beneath the Leadenhall Building.

Meeting point: City Information Centre, St Paul’s Churchyard EC4M 8BX.

Wednesday 1 July 6.30pm Booking details on the Open City website.

London Landscape – Southbank

South Over the centuries the unique landscape of London has been shaped by its public spaces, including its distinctive streets, squares and parks.

The regeneration of the Southbank from Potters Fields and City Hall to Jubilee Gardens had demonstrated the work of a wide range of landscape architects as well as the patronage of many different land owners.

With the recent completion of More London’s public realm; the creation of new public spaces outside of the National Theatre and the development of Jubilee Gardens in the shadow of the London Eye, this one-off special walking tour with the Landscape Institute looks at the way in which one of the fastest-changing parts of London has used landscape-led regeneration to establish a set of new identities.

Meeting point: Outside City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
More London
London SE1 2AA

Wednesday 15 July 6.30pm. Booking details on the Open City website.

How food built London: follow the drover’s route from the Royal Agricultural Hall to Smithfield

From the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington to Smithfield, walk the drover’s route to market. A new guided walk looks at the way in which food impacted on the design of London.  This walk, the first of three, looks at meat and water and follows the blood-smattered path from Upper Street, down St John’s Street across Cowcross Street and onto market.  To find out about the next walk, leave a comment on the contact page.

Strange days in Smithfield

A great view of the grand arcade in Smithfield Market.  What will happen to it?  The controversy arising from plans to replace the General Market with a new office block focused attention on the destruction of a part of the market which was no longer in use.  The General Market is now subject to a redesign which will largely retain the existing building.  An interesting question is the long-term future of the main part of the market, currently in use for storage and sale of refrigerated meat.  Smithfield is now the last-remaining central London wholesale-only market.  Borough has a small wholesale market but is now mainly retail; Billingsgate has moved to Poplar, Covent Garden to Nine Elms and Spitalfields Flower Market to Ilford.  Billingsgate and Nine Elms are now facing major redevelopment because they now find themselves in the middle of new building projects.  Once Crossrail is complete, Farringdon will the a highly connected railway station linking most of London’s airports.  It is difficult to see how Smithfield can survive in such a valuable part of the City doing something that does not particularly need to be done in the heart of London.  Once it had an underground railway delivering cattle direct to the market; that disappeared during the blitz and was never rebuilt.  Now it is dominated by early morning lorries.  It is a bit of a transport disaster in the midst of what will one day be an amazing transport interchange.