Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Smithfield Market

Smithfield MarketWe had a chance one Saturday afternoon to visit Smithfield Market near the financial centre of London. I totally forgot that they are open only very early in the morning and close at around 9AM. So by the time we were there the market itself was closed and we just walked around the vicinity to see some interesting spots.

Smithfield Market, a meat and livestock market, has been in existence as far back as 14th century over a large open space just outside the walls of the old City of London. The current building where it is housed was completed in 1868. Good thing they managed to preserve this beautiful Victorian structure.

Besides the market, it also has a gruesome history being a place of public executions for people convicted of heresy, treason, murder, etc. Nearby we saw a big plaque for Scotsman William Wallace more popularly known as Braveheart. His marker was festooned with fresh flowers, candles, and Scottish flags.

Also in the vicinity is the old church of St. Bartholomew established as a monastery in the 12th century. The abbotts built a hospital as well of the same name which is now popularly known as St.Bart's hospital. Though the monastery was dissolved in Henry VIII's dissolution of all Catholic churches in the mid 16th century, it survives today as a quaint old church no doubt because it transformed itself into an Anglican church.

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