Smithfield is an area in the City of London where you’ll find St Bartholemew’s Hospital, the London Charterhouse, the Livery Hall of the Butchers’ Hall and the Haberdashers’ Hall.
Smithfield was considered the play area of London in the twelfth century, and was the location for jousts and tournaments. It was also the scene at which one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt, Wat Tyler, met King Richard II and was stabbed during an altercation, as well as being the site that 200 people were burn for their religious beliefs during the reign of Mary Tudor and revolutionary William Wallace was put to death in 1305.
Smithfield is the largest and oldest wholesale meat market in the country: a livestock market has existed on the site since the twelfth century. The market covers just under ten acres, of which six and a half acres are covered by buildings.
It was originally known as Smoothfield (meaning smooth plain).
Sir Horace Jones was responsible for designing a new building in the 1860s. He later went on to design Billingsgate and Leadenhall markets, and then Tower Bridge.
The market supplies inner city butchers, shops and restaurants with meat for the coming day. The trading hours are from 4am to 12noon every weekday.
Some of the meat market buildings now serve other purposes. The Central Cold Store on Charterhouse Street is now a cogeneration power station run by Citigen. Another former cold store is now home to the nightclub Fabric.