London’s Street Markets: 1900-1920

Some of the once-bustling street markets familiar to Londoners over 100 years ago are now gone. These archive photos show just what they were like at the time.

Hoxton Market, 1910. This East London market still trades most days of the week.

East Street Market, 1910. This South London Market still trades, and was one of my childhood haunts.

Billingsgate Fish Market, 1900. You can see The Monument to The Great Fire of London in the background. This market has since moved.

The Traders Hall inside the same Fish Market.

Whitechapel Hay Market, 1900. The decline of horse transport after WW1 caused the eventual closure of this market.

Meat Porters at Smithfield Market, 1920. This market still trades today.

Caledonian Cattle Market, 1910. This North London market opened as an alternative to Smithfield, in 1855.

The Hide Hall at Caledonian Market. Animal hides were sold for leather production. You can also see a bookseller in the foreground, showing the variety of traders who operated there. The market later moved to South London, becoming famous for the sale of antiques for many years.

Horse Traders at Caledonian Market. They were selling the animals for a variety of uses. To be used to pull carts or carriages, or slaughtered for horse meat and their bones rendered down for glue or fertiliser.

Covent Garden Market, 1910. This Central London market traded in fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It later moved south of The River Thames, to Nine Elms.

A busy trading day in Covent Garden Market, 1910. This is inside the Floral Hall, where flowers were sold to traders and members of the public.

36 thoughts on “London’s Street Markets: 1900-1920

  1. (1) Can you identify the James Preston butcher? And do you know whether he has butchered anyone else?
    (2) I’ve always wanted to live on Easy Street. Judging by the crowed, I’m not alone.
    (3) Fish & Fire. Rumor has it that at any one time, there were 1,666 fish for sale at the market. No other fish market could match that.
    (3) Overheard in Traders Hall:
    Young trader: “Heck yeah, I’m a Newby!”
    Old trader: “Go talk to the Smart guy. He’s been around the Block.”
    (4) Did the Whitechapel Hay Market offer hayrides? And did anyone ever name his unruly horse Haywire back in the market’s heyday?
    (5) Vegans are not meat porter supporters.
    (6) Is there a New Caledonian Cattle Market in the South Pacific?
    (7) I can see Hide Market. It’s hiding in plain sight.
    (8) Some of the horses sold at the Caledonian Market were slaughtered in order to produce industrial strength glue destined to affix wings to airplanes.
    (9) I haven’t been to Nine Elms, but I’ve been to Twentynine Palms, California.
    (10) I wonder if Wilt Chamberlain ever bought flowers at the Floral Hall?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhh Hoxton market but no mention of Ridley row which was a favourite of mine…what a change Smithfields and Covent garden have had and now they are thriving again but a tad more upmarket ..Great images , Pete x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily, we still have many vibrant street markets in England. There is a very large one in Norwich that is open every day, and even a tiny one in Dereham open on Tuesdays and Fridays. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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