Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Leadenhall: More MEAT Plz

As it is related to things Beeton, I will share some photos of the Leadenhall Market in London, the covered Victorian market that Mr. Redux and I escaped into while being pelted with wind and rain.
While walking through the market, I noticed long rows of very scary hooks lining the walls. I asked the husband, who, being British, is an automatic Expert On All Things British, what the hooks were for.

"I don't know...probably for hanging up wares, like vegetables."

Now, I may not be an Expert, but I doubted that brussel sprouts needed such a formidable claw to be displayed. So I found an image of Leadenhall in its glory years, and lo and behold:
The original meat market, surprisingly not located in Picadilly Circus.

Luckily, the hooks are now only ominous reminders of the hundreds of beasties hung out in the element, which presumably is a perfectly safe and incredibly attractive way of displaying meat products. The Victorians thought so, which is why they spoke so highly of Leadenhall:

Leadenhall Market is the greatest market in London for the sale of country-killed meat, particularly beef, and was till lately the only skin and leather market in the metropolis.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

Butchered beef and its skin: surely one of the finest sights London had to offer in 1844. But it wasn't all a delightful, bloody diversion.

It would scarcely be credited that, in splendid London, women are subjected to various kinds of severe and repulsive toil .... For example, the porterage of meat at the wholesale markets, as Newgate and Leadenhall, is performed by women, many of them old. You will see these wretched creatures stagger under the weight of a side of beef, or having an entire sheep upon their heads, conveying their burdens to the butchers carts, drawn up in the vicinity of the market ...

The World of London, by John Murray, in Blackwoods Magazine, July 1841

You may think John Murray is bemoaning the plight of poor Black Beauty and other sad workhorses, but he's talking about the most maligned pack animal of all: women! All I know is that if I could lift a whole sheep on my head, I would feel pretty damned proud of myself.


1 comment:

  1. Does this mean we can look forward to photos of Mrs Beeton dragging the flank of some hooved animal through the snow? Or maybe at least a huge bag of potatos?