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Industrial History Online

Smithfield Market

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Record Status - Reviewed Site Record

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Site ID :- GTL00002
Key Words :- Wholesale meat market
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Address :- Grand Avenue, London, Greater London, EC1
Grid Reference :- TQ 3183 8175
Grid Co-ordinates :- Easting 531830 m, Northing 181750 m
Lat & Long (WGS84) :- 51.519293 , -0.101349
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Site Location :-
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Parish or Township :-
Administrative Area :- City of London
Pre 1974 County :- Greater London Council
Site Status :- Listed - Grade II*
Site Condition :- Operational site, in use for original purpose
Historic England List No - 1285241, 1381209, 1396459,
Site Era :-Early Modern 1850-1950 to Modern Post 1950
Site Dates :- 1868 -
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Contributor :- GLIAS Database - 2 June 2018
Contributors Society :- Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society
Copyright :- cc-by-nc-sa 4.0 © GLIAS Database

Record Status :- Reviewed
Reviewed By :- Dan Hayton - 1 November 2019

Description and History
Central Market is 630 ft. long by 240 ft. wide in two wings either side of central arcade. The whole is constructed in ornate cast iron, fronted in red brick and stone with four stone corner towers. Additional market buildings were built 1886-88, 1898 and 1899. Although damaged by bombs in WW2, much survives in use. Parts destroyed by fire, 1958, were replaced 1963 by poultry market, by T. P. Bennett & Sons, (response to cheaper poultry and greater demand) with largest clear span dome in Europe. Circular ramp, sett paved for horse drawn vehicles, led down to market's railway sidings (GWR and MR); GNR depot was in Farringdon Rd. Market modernised to EU standards in 1996-1999. This involved the removal of interior fitting and installation of a environmentally controlled environment. External changes involved the fitting of sealed bays for lorries and replacement of 1950s canopies with attractive glass ones.

Since 1174 a meat market has occupied this site outside city walls. Present central market building designed by Sir Horace Jones and opened as London Central Meat Market, 1868.

Two firemen were killed in the 1958 fire due to their breathing apparatus running out of air. As a result of this a warning whistle to indicate ‘low air’ was installed in the system. For many years in fire brigades this was known as “The Smithfield Whistle”.

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