Thursday, 20 December 2012

Market Forces

Walking around Smithfield yesterday reminded me of all the things I love about London... 
... the mad juxtaposition of old and new,
sublime and mundane,
quirky and functional.
Miniature housing estates painted onto the concrete blocks that divert articulated trucks into the vast loading bays.
Tinsel decked meat packers caffs and down to earth boozers, licensed to sell liquor at dawn, nestle between elegant, Michelen-starred restaurants serving festive tasting menus at £80 a go. 
The meat market, built in the 1860s and designed by Sir Horace Jones, who also designed Tower Bridge, covers ten acres in the middle of the city. A large swathe of the market was burnt down on the 1950s creating space for the incredible poultry market to be built. With the largest curved concrete ceiling in Europe and funky 60s mullioned windows it stands in perfect contrast to the elaborate Victorian structure. The whole market has an enchanting but worrying sense of neglect about it. 

Buddleia bushes sprout from window ledges and some of the buildings are shut down and boarded up. Two workmen, guarding the entrance to a abandoned underground NCP (that appears to have a miniature chateau built above it) assured me that I won't recognise it round here soon. Well, that would be a real shame. London doesn't need another sanitised, touristy, fake, commercialised, boring, characterless, heartless, street- performing, depressing, family friendly market-turned-shopping-area. No names mentioned. 

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