Esoteric London

No. 1129: Barnabas Road, E9

Posted in Food, Markets, Public Art by esotericlondon on June 26, 2014

©RogerDean_RED_2117 copy

Barnabas Road, London, E9. Photo ©RogerDean 2014

The Wilds of London – James Greenwood, 1874:

As a nation it is not to be denied that the flesh-pot has for us Englishmen attractions superior to those of the fish-kettle. Indeed, if we make item of the number of shops in London devoted to the sale of the finny tribe, and compare the result with the figures that go to show the number of establishments given over to the retailing of beeves and muttons, it will be found that our relative liking for fish and flesh is as nearly as possible on a par with that of Jack Falstaff for sack and bread. It would be a long way from fair, however, to measure the matter by this standard, and declare it settled. It is not the upper nor the middle classes who are the chief fish eaters amongst us. So to speak, it is not one fish in twenty that, as an article of diet, is promoted above the bottom round of the social ladder. Of course there are exceptions. The lofty salmon or the aristocratic turbot may disdain as their agent a person less respectable than a West-end Groves or a City Sweeting; but the honest plaice and the generous mackerel have no such absurd scruples. They are the fish of the poor – their meat, their bread and as such are blest in their mighty increase. Nobody out of their own circle (except diligent inquirers, whose business it is) can form anything like an adequate idea of the tremendous importance of a plentiful supply of Billingsgate produce amongst the wretchedly poor.

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