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The Smithfield Market cast-iron colonnade - Batch 1

a set of Victorian industrial columns from the famous London meat market, RESERVED,

Archived Stock - This item is no longer available

The Smithfield Market cast-iron colonnade – Batch 1

a set of Victorian industrial columns from the famous London meat market, RESERVED,

each column, square section with inset rounded corners, knopped with a capital spreading to an octagonal top and raised on a substantial squared foot-plate with integral swept bracing, the top with fixing points for a matrix of girders,

QUANTITY: Batch One... 18 Columns

(36 columns in total selling in two batches of 18 - see separate entry for Batch 2)


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Dimensions: 386cm (152") High, 406cm (159¾") At Highest, 69cm (27¼") Wide, 69cm (27¼") Deep
Stock code: 46374

Smithfield Market needs little introduction to any Londoner – tucked on the northern edge of the City of London it has been the hub of the meat trade for centuries. For many years the one-way system took you through the middle of the building as your drove from Holborn through to Finsbury Square. The columns are iconic – they divided each bay, between them hung that day’s carcasses, and they held aloft the offices in which the traders recorded their sales.

The City of London Corporation formally established a cattle market on the site under Royal Charter in 1638 but the trade in cattle had been centred there for centuries prior to that. Established outside of the City Walls – London soon encompassed it. This however was no hindrance to the drovers still bringing live herds into the market – they were inclined to stampede their cattle on occasion as they progressed through the succession of High Streets en route, apparently giving rise to the phrase “Bull in a china shop”. With droving and slaughter ongoing at scale in the centre of London it was to become a pretty grim location. Charles Dickens describes it in “Oliver Twist”:

The ground was covered nearly ankle deep with filth and mire; a thick steam perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle … the unwashed, unshaven, squalid and dirty figures constantly running to and fro, and bursting in and out of the throng, rendering it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses”.

In 1855 the live market was moved to Islington and Horace Jones was engaged to build a replacement: the Central London Meat Market – complete with its own link to the underground railway. This was to be a far more orderly and hygienic facility – extended on numerous occasions over ensuing decades with cavernous storage underground as refrigeration technology radically extended the radius from within which meat could be sourced – by Edwardian times Argentinian meat could be imported to Smithfields.

These columns have been salvaged from the cavernous “General Market” currently being re-developed as the Museum of London’s new home.

LASSCO have salvaged 36 of these columns in total. This is half of them:18 laid nose to tail comprises a full load in a 45′ articulated truck).