« AnteriorContinua »
being estimated at seven millions a year. The name appears to to have been originally smooth field (campus planus). This, before the days of Tyburn, was the place of public executions. Mortimer suffered death here, and Wallace. Here Walworth the mayor stabbed Tyler the rebel ; and here Jack Straw was hanged. Tournaments were held on the spot. Edward III. celebrated the deeds at Cressy and Poictiers by mimic feats of arms at Smithfield. Richard II. gave a tournament on three days to celebrate his marriage in 1396. A more terrible page of history tells of those murders by way of burning which took place here in the name of religion from 1555 to 1611. Ashes and charred bones have been found in various spots beneath the pavement.
Bartholomew Fair, mentioned so often in our literature, was held at Smithfield. The Lord Mayor went in his gilt coach, attended by city officers and trumpets, to open it. Mountebanks, conjurors, giants, and dwarfs, rope dancers, punchinello, exhibited themselves ; wild beasts, dancing dogs, and all the other marvels of a fair, were shewn to the crowd. The licence of the carnival became too great ; the fair was gradually curtailed of its attractions, and finally abolished in 1853, after having existed from the time of Henry I.
BILLINGSGATE MARKET, Lower Thames Street, City, is the great wholesale market for fish of the Metropolis. It is a neat Italian structure of red brick, open at the sides, and with a campanile towards the river, designed by Mr. Bunning. The market commences, six days in the week, at five o'clock, A.M., all the year round. The vessels that bring the river-borne fish are moored alongside the floating quay during the night, the oyster boats lying apart. The fish are brought to land in baskets, and immediately sold to the large retail fishmongers, who carry off their purchases at once in the carts they have in readiness. Then come the “ bomarees,” or middle
men, who buy large lots, which they divide and re-sell. And these are succeeded by the costermongers, the fishmongers of the poor, who hawk the fish about London. In the market, oysters and other shell-fish are sold by measure, salmon by weight, all other fish by number. The traffic in the course of a year is enormous, for not only does fish pour in by the river, but large quantities are now brought by railway. Billingsgate is worth seeing at an early hour, but “let the visitor beware,” says Dr. Winter, “how he enters it in a good coat, for as sure as he goes in broadcloth, he will come out in scale armour. They are not
polite at Billingsgate as all the world knows, andi' by your leave' is only a preliminary to your hat being knocked off your head by a bushel of oysters or a basket of crabs. In the early part of the morning it would gladden the heart of a Dutch painter to see the piled produce of a dozen different seas glittering with silver and brilliant with colour.” The east coast sends herrings and sprats ; Devonshire and Cornwall, mackerel, pilchards, and red mullet ; Scotland, salmon ; the Doggerbank, cod and turbot ; Norway, lobsters ; the North Sea, soles ; Holland, smelt and eels; the mouth of the Thames, and the English Channel, oysters. The use of this locality as a quay can be traced to a very early period -as far back as the Anglo-Saxon kings. It was appropriated as a fish market in 1699. The origin of the name is very doubtful. Some conjecture that a British king, Belin, built a gate here ;. others that a later owner of the property may have been named Beling. The name has long become the proverbial designation of a certain kind of fluent discourse-viz., “opprobrious foul-mouth language," as a dictionary has it.
At certain taverns in the neighbourhood, notably at "Simpson's," a table d'hote dinner at one and four is to be obtained for eighteenpence. Several kinds of fish are followed by joints.
The METROPOLITAN CATTLE MARKET, Copenhagen Fields, in the north of London, was built in 1854, in order that Smithfield might cease to be what it had long been, the greatest nuisance in the metropolis. Live stock and dead meat are brought for sale, the transactions in the course of a year here reaching a very large amount. The market covers about 30 acres, and cost £300,000. Mr. Bunning was the architect. Early on Monday morning is the time for seeing the greatest bustle of business.
The other markets of London may be summarily treated, as, however extensive their business, they are anything but models for neatness or orderly arrangement. Newgate Market, for flesh meat, between Newgate Street and St. Paul's ; Leadenhall Market, Leadenhall Street, for poultry, game, butcher meat, vegetables, etc.; Farringdon Market, Farringdon Street, where water-cresses predominate over other articles. The site and buildings cost £250,000, opened in 1829; Hungerford Market, Strand, a general market, which will probably be shortly removed, to make way for a railway station. The market buildings were erected by Mr. Fowler in 1832-3 for a public company. The name is derived from Sir Edward Hungerford, who in 1680 had property here.
For horses the great mart is Tattersall's, Grosvenor Place, Hyde Park Corner, where they are disposed of by auction on Mondays throughout the year, and on Thursdays in spring. Tattersall’s is also the head-quarters of racing men, there being a subscription room here where turfites of all grades meet to make and settle bets. The betting on the most interesting "events” is regularly quoted in the newspapers.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SEVENTH.
BREWERIES AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL ESTABLISHMENTS.
STRANGERS interested in industrial operations would, if properly introduced, have no difficulty in obtaining permission to inspect some of the great engineering works, such as Maudslay and Field's in Westminster Road, Lambeth, or some of those at Millwall. The manufacture of gas on a large scale, as conducted by some of the great companies, is also an interesting sight. The great drainage works, now being carried on by the Metropolitan Board of Works, may be seen by application to the chief clerk, at the office in Spring Gardens, who should be asked which, for the time being, is the most available point to visit. The printing establishment of the Times newspaper, in Printing-House Square, Blackfriars, is highly deserving of a visit, and may be seen by ticket obtained from the printer. Messrs. Clowes' printing office in Stamford Street, Blackfriars, is one of the largest in London, and may be inspected by an order obtained from the proprietors. Then there are the great BREWERIES, so remarkable for the vast amount of their operations. Taking the twelve largest concerns, the annual consumption of malt ranges from 15,000 quarters to 140,000. The establishments of Messrs. Barclay, Perkins, & Co., Park Street, Southwark, and Messrs. Hanbury, Buxton, & Co., Bricklane, Spitalfields, are larger than the others. By procuring a letter of introduction to either firm, there will be no difficulty in obtaining permission to view the brewery. Barclay's covers about 12 acres of ground. Steam-engines are employed to work the machinery. The water is obtained from an artesian well 367 feet in depth. The brewhouses, the cooling-floors, the fermenting “squares,” the storehouses with their tuns, are on a gigantic scale. One vat holds about 3500 barrels, the value of the porter being about £9000. The horses, of which there are upwards of 180 employed, are striking creatures, and will be often noticed in the streets pulling drays. They are chiefly