Smithfield – “the smooth field” – was the site of a livestock market dating from the medieval era, and of the annual Cloth Fair held around St Bartholomew’s Day. It is outside the area of the City of London destroyed by the Great Fire of London of 1666, so has some very old buildings, including the oldest church in London.
The nearest Underground station is Barbican. From Aldersgate, walk along Long Lane and you will soon see Smithfield Market. We will meet at West Smithfield garden, a small circular city park in front of the market building.
Summary of the day:
- Meet at 11 am at West Smithfield garden in front of Smithfield Market
- Meet at 1 pm in the same place
- Meet at 3.30 pm either at the West Smithfield garden if dry or the Rising Sun pub on Cloth Fair if wet
Smithfield is an area of varied history, and rapid change, and offers a great mix of subjects to draw:
Smithfield Market is a large Victorian building (see top image) completed in 1867 (architect Horace Jones), a wholesale meat market (trading Monday to Friday). At the southwest end are disused buildings, formerly a general market, which have been acquired for redevelopment as a new location for the
. The provisional opening date for this is
St Bartholomew’s Hospital has stood on this site since 1123, and some of the existing buildings date from the eighteenth century. The hospital complex includes St Bartholomew the Less church (unlikely to be open), and a courtyard with a fountain and plenty of seats. The hospital’s Henry Vlll Gate is on
was for centuries a site of execution.
Memorials alongside the hospital include one to William Wallace,
Scottish leader executed in 1305
St Bartholomew the Great church: the oldest church in
London, interesting interior and exterior, admission
charge, open 10.30 am to 4 pm
The Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court, down
Postman’s Park and St Botolph Aldersgate, down Little Britain. The park includes G. F. Watts’ Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice
The Museum of London on the junction of Aldersgate and London Wall, free admission, open 10 am to 6 pm
I have listed quite a few options as the impact of building work in the area is unpredictable.
Wet weather options include the interior of St Bartholomew the Great, interiors of pubs and cafes, and the
Museum of London
Facilities: Old pubs are characteristic of the area, although not all open on Saturday. The Rising Sun, 38 Cloth Fair, the Old Red Cow, 71 Long Lane, the Fox and Anchor, 115 Charterhouse, should be open, also Carluccio café on West Smithfield and cafes near the tube station and the
. Museum of
This day is organised by