So, The City of London Corporation announced in mid-August that a “Proposal has been agreed in principle” to relocate the home of the British Meat Industry, Smithfield Market.
And I have to admit to ignorance in terms of how long that market has been there. I mean, I know it’s been there at least since the war, I know this because my Dad delights in waxing lyrical about his days learning his trade at Smithfield.
So anyway, I thought it was high time I found out more about this cathedral to our esteemed and noble trade. And as it turns out, people have been trading meat at that location in Farringdon since the 10th Century although the current building is much newer than that, even though most people would quite believe it dates back to King Arthur and his round table. Yep, there’s a rich vein of history flowing through that place and some odd facts too.
Strangely it was also a place of execution back in the day. And not just any old place of execution, oh no! Non-other than Sir William Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered there (well at least the colours would have blended in). And Wat Tyler (the illustrious leader of the Peasants revolt) lost his noggin there, only for it to turn up on a spike some hours later on London Bridge.
But enough of the history lesson. The relocation statement would not have been well received by the Smithfield traders. I know this because I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many Smithfield people (past and present) over the years and believe me, they are formidable People! And to rub salt in the wound, proposed new locations include mergers with Billingsgate Fish Market and/or New Spitalfields fruit and veg market. I mean….for pity’s sake come on, that would be like merging Arsenal with Spurs.
So to sum-up this tale of woe, I hereby add my voice to the list of the extremely reluctant. Leave the blumin place alone, It’s been there a 1000 years which surely entitles it to stay there!