Esoteric London

No. 465: Fleet Street, EC4

Posted in Churches, The Wandle, Wildlife by esotericlondon on December 9, 2011

St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street, London, EC4. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

The Horse World of London – W. J. Gordon, 1893:

In Garratt Lane, Wandsworth, is the largest horse-slaughtering yard in London. It has existed for about a hundred years. There it stands, practically odourless, by the banks of the winding Wandle, with a wide meadow in front of it and a firework factory next door, the magazine of which is within measurable distance of its boiler-house. One fine morning – it was really a beautiful morning – we found our way down the lane, along the field, armed with Mr. Ross’s permit, to be initiated by Mr. Milestone into the mysteries of a horse’s departure from the London world.
The last scene does not take long. In two seconds a horse is killed; in a little over half an hour his hide is in a heap of dozens, his feet are in another heap, his bones are boiling for oil, his flesh is cooking for cat’s meat. Maneless he stands; a shade is put over his eyes; a swing of the axe, and, with just one tremor, he falls heavy and dead on the flags of a spacious kitchen, which has a line of coppers and boilers steaming against two of its walls.
In a few minutes his feet are hooked up to cross-beams above, and two men pounce upon him to flay him; for the sooner he is ready the quicker he cooks. Slash, slash, go the knives, and the hide is peeled off about as easily as a tablecloth […].