David Williams who is a Blue Badge Guide came and spoke to us about the subject of ‘Crime & Punishment, Story of Smithfield’.
David started by giving a brief synopsis of his career so far, he currently speaks but also gives guided walks through the cities of London and Westminster. He then went on to give a very entertaining and informative history of the Smithfield Market and immediate surrounding areas. The original market started 800 years ago, and the surrounding area was used to provide the entertainment of the day, which included public executions. The current site has the last remaining Victorian Market building, others include Billingsgate fish market and the Spitalfields Market, both of which have move markets to east London, with the old buildings redeveloped.
The same fate is to fall on the Smithfield with the Museum of London moving to the current site and will be known as the culture mile. Developers will need to be sympathetic to the style of the current building as it is now a listed building, development is expected to last approximately 5-10 years. David also talked about some of the notable executions that took place at the Smithfield area including the names such as, Watt Tyler the leader of the Peasants Revolt in 1381 and “Braveheart” William Wallace in 1305. Surprisingly the old Smithfield included Bartholomew Fields now the site of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and Newgate Prison now the site of the Old Bailey.