Visit London Blog » smithfield market Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visiting the Past: Smithfield Market Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:00:25 +0000

Smithfield Market has existed for hundreds of years and is the oldest wholesale meat market in the country. In the late 12th century, the medieval writer William Fitz Stephen described it as a “smooth field, both in fact and in name” where weekly horse markets were held. Horses were shown off to potential buyers by making them race. Sheep, cows and pigs were also for sale, a tradition that has continued to the present day, though 12th century Smithfield Market was for livestock rather than cut meat. The current market is held inside an impressive building, which first opened in 1868.

The area of Smithfield Market has been associated with several famous and sometimes grisly events over its long history. In 1381 (more than 600 years ago this week) it was the setting for the confrontation between the rebels of the Peasants’ Revolt and King Richard II’s army.  On 15 June, the rebels and their leader Wat Tyler met the king’s army at Smithfield to present their demands.  It is uncertain what exactly happened next but the negotiations turned violent and Tyler was killed. Afterwards the revolt collapsed. You can find out more about medieval London and the Peasants’ Revolt in the Museum of London’s Medieval Gallery.

Visit the Smithfield Market website for information about visiting the market, or you could take a walking tour of the market.

A guest blog post by Meriel Jeater of the Museum of London as part of our Visiting the Past series. More London history next week

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London Video Of The Week: Skyfall London Videoblog Fri, 17 Aug 2012 10:30:24 +0000

Each week we share with you a fantastic London video – sometime shot by tourists, sometimes by schoolkids, sometimes featuring singers or other stars. But our weekly showcase of London videos aren’t often as starry as today’s offering.

Here’s a glimpse into the making of the new James Bond film, Skyfall, which appears to have some significant stretches of action in London. Ignore Sam Mendes’ assertion that London’s “not a particularly photogenic city” (what?!) instead listen to Daniel Craig telling us the this is Bond in Britain, and that London is a “very beautiful place.” 

Skyfall - a new film starring Whitehall, Vauxhall Bridge, Embankment and Smithfield Market. How exciting: we can’t wait!

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London’s Most Haunted on the London Ghost Walk Thu, 09 Dec 2010 12:15:00 +0000 The most haunted pub in London. Photo: Claire Doble St Bartholomews Hospital. Photo: Claire Doble A spooky tree in the churchyard of St Sepulchre Without Newgate. Photo: Claire Doble Graveyard. Photo: Claire Doble A medieval house from which Bloody Mary allegedly watched protestants being burned. Photo: Claire Doble Section of The London Wall and original Barbican. Photo: Claire Doble

Last Friday a couple of friends and I wrapped up warm to take the London Ghost Walk. Starting near St Pauls, the walk takes in some of the City’s most haunted spots.

The fact Central London was covered in snow that night added an extra Dickensian dimension to the walk, which took in spooky old pubs, haunted hospitals, creepy churchyards and grisly grounds such as the ex-public hanging spot near Smithfield Market.

Our guide was veteran ghost-hunter Richard Jones. I found his commentary compelling and entertaining, plus he erred nicely on the side of historical and quirky tales, rather than trying to creep us out too much, which, being rather a wuss, I thoroughly appreciated!

The London Ghost Tour is a great way to explore some of the City’s history and at just £8 for nearly 2 hours, it’s a bargain night out in London.

Read our guide to more Haunted London Walks

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