London’s great wholesale food markets have been supplying the city with fish, meat and fruit & veg’ for centuries, and are a rich seam in the city’s history. With unprecedented access to Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields market this series asks how relevant are these markets today, and what will be their role in the London of tomorrow?
The Fish Market: Inside Billingsgate
London’s oldest wholesale market is on the verge of its biggest change in over a thousand years. Fish merchants are facing tough times. The market is under pressure to modernise and its iconic and ancient traditions are under threat. The job of the licensed fish porter, once a job for life, could be thrown open to all comers. The market is divided: will ancient custom or modern commerce win out?
The Meat Market: Inside Smithfield
The nighttime market at Smithfield was once the sole supplier of meat and poultry to London and could play by its own rules. But now, the modern world of powerful supermarkets and political correctness is proving a challenge for some in this closed, traditional man’s world.
The Fruit ‘n’ Veg Market: Inside New Spitalfields
New Spitalfields in the East End of London is one of Europe’s largest wholesale markets, selling exotic fruit and veg from all over the world to London’s increasingly multicultural society. But as London changes what does the future hold for markets like these?