Esoteric London

No. 18: Trafalgar Way, E14

Posted in Food, London Places, Markets by esotericlondon on March 24, 2010

Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, London, E14. Photo © Roger Dean 1984.

Passages From The The English Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne – Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1870:

YESTERDAY morning we went to London Bridge and along Lower Thames Street, and quickly found ourselves in Billingsgate Market,—a dirty, evil-smelling, crowded precinct, thronged with people carrying fish on their heads, and lined with fish-shops and fish-stalls, and pervaded with a fishy odour. The footwalk was narrow,—as indeed was the whole street,—and filthy to travel upon; and we had to elbow our way among rough men and slatternly women, and to guard our heads from the contact of fish-trays; very ugly, grimy, and misty, moreover, is Billingsgate Market, and though we heard none of the foul language of which it is supposed to be the fountain-head, yet it has its own peculiar ities of behaviour. For instance, U. tells me that one man, staring at her and her governess as they passed, cried out, ‘What beauties !‘—another – looking under her veil, greeted her with ‘Good morning, my love!’ We were in advance, and heard nothing of these civilities.

[ See also post No. 218 .R.D.]