Posts Tagged ‘Smithfield’

Smithfield is an area in the city of London. In early Medieval times, it was one of the few areas on the edge of the ancient city that was not marshland and became known as Smoothfield. Originally used as a mustering ground for troops, it soon developed other uses – as a jousting ground and a place of execution. It was the site of the Bartholomew Fayre which took place for 3 days every year and to the east lay the infirmary of St Batholomew’s Monastery (later St Bartholomew’s Hospital, one of London’s great teaching hospitals). Later a daily live cattle market was held here. In Victorian times this was moved further out of London and replaced by Smithfield Market a meat market. In order to transport the meat to the market, the Victorians built a dedicated underground railway station (now an underground car park) and covered the excavations with a garden, now known as West Smithfield Garden.

In the garden stands a statue of Peace. It dates from 1879 and is the work of John Birnie Philip. Originally she was one of a set (temperance, hope, faith and charity being the others) but the other 4 have been removed. There is a story that a local worker found a ring in the garden and not knowing who it belonged to placed it on the finger of the statue. Sadly I am told that even if this story is true then it is no longer there.