A former London poultry market dating back to the 1300’s has lost all its birds, well, most of them. However, I did see one and that was very much alive and on the hunt for some avian meat too!
Once the smell of cheese pervaded the area along with ducks, hens and geese. In its time the market building that once stood on the site was given over by the famous Mayor of London, Dick Whittington to the City and its citizens.
The cheeses mainly on view these days are very much the ‘big cheeses’ of the UK’s and international insurance market traders and brokers.
The popular lunch hot spot for the city whiz kids, its bars, bistro’s, cafes and restaurants are busy from lunchtime onwards as contacts are made and deals done over a ‘pint’ or perhaps a late lunch.
Sited a few steps away from the rear of Richard Rogers ‘inside out’ Lloyds Building, Leadenhall Market once exchanged chickens but now any deals done here by the brokers will certainly not be for, chicken feed!
Having suffered damage in the Great Fire of London it was rebuilt plus expanded several times with the current colourful and ornate building dating back the late Victorian period.
The highly painted, glass covered cross-shaped and extensive structure now houses much more than butchers and meat merchants. There is still one and that is called Butcher’s Kitchen, not only serving up some choice cuts of meat in the heart of the City next door but also a pretty good breakfast and various grills and snacks throughout the rest of the day.
The cobbled street intersection under an elegant glass and ironwork canopy offers a wide range of shops from luxury clothes or up-market pen shop, for broker’s to sign off that multi-million pound deal with perhaps? A small sagents kiosk providing sweets and cigarettes can be found at the other end. Plus under the ornate painted central dome you can even get a shoeshine for those designer shoes for just a fiver (£5).
In the morning it’s a perfect place to start the day with a coffee or tea in the shelter of its massive Victorian roof, at the weekend market stalls add to the ambience as do wine tastings and choral concerts provide yet further colour after normal trading hours.
Parts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were filmed here as was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and its also been used in pop video by Erasure too.
The early bird customer has a chance to take in and enjoy the typical Victorian gold and maroon décor also be in time to spot one bird still very much alive and looking to dine there too!
A ‘Harris Hawk’ brought into patrol the cavernous rafters and chase away any pigeons that have the audacity to consider roosting there, this avian authoritarian would be no match for any hapless pigeon caught within it’s precincts and would no doubt be butchered like in bygone days?