Market, London's wholesale meat market, most likely takes
its name from the 'smooth field' on which it was built.
This large open
space near the City was used for public events, such as jousts,
tournaments and executions. Queen Mary I , 1553 - 58,
had 300 Protestants burned at the stake at Smithfield, earning
her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'.
The most famous
of event to be held here was the annual Bartholomew
Fair. Founded in 1123, this cloth fair degenerated over
the years into one of London's most raucous entertainments.
In 1855 the fair was suppressed by the City authorities for
encouraging public disorder and Smithfield Market was built
on the site.
The building opened
in 1868, designed by Sir Horace Jones, who was also responsible
for Billingsgate and Leadenhall Markets.
Market, known officially as London Central Markets, has recently
undergone a £70 million restoration programme. Sir Horace
Jones's East and West Markets are now restored to their original
colours of deep blue, red and green with gold stars.
Seeing the market
in action means getting up very early - its all over by 8.00
Some of the local
pubs have special early licences and keep market hours, so
breakfast with beer, with the meat porters and early-rising
office workers is possible.