Today, approval was given for the redevelopment of the Smithfield site to turn it into the new Museum of London. Whereas some of the architecture will remain on view, the activities of the meat market will cease. So I went out in recent days to try to show some of the activity in the meat market.
Here is the clean-up, in the afternoon.
Here is a lorry parked on the North side, ready to deliver meat in the morning. Note the huge meat-loading bays. This one is labelled 5. These loading bays will not be there when it is redeveloped, so I was keen to draw them now.
Here is a general view from Charterhouse St, looking East. In this drawing, you can see three eras: the meat market 1880s, the Barbican towers, 1970s, and the new Crossrail station, which is nearly finished, 2020s.
You can see loading bay 5 in the distance, and loading bay 7 nearer.
There is a huge collection of bollards in this area, whose job is to keep the heavy goods vehicles from crushing people on the pavement. Many of them have dates on. The one immediately to the right of the traffic lights is not a bollard, but an imposter. It is a thin metal case and encloses some water-control device. It is labelled “Thames Water”. The real bollards are sturdy cast iron. Many of them have clearly been wounded in action, but they stand firm, doing their job. I hope they are retained when the site is redeveloped.
Here is work in progress on the drawing.
A street sweeper came by at the pen stage. He gave his approval. He said he didn’t paint himself, but he liked to look at paintings and drawings.
Here is a list of my drawings in this area:
4 thoughts on “Smithfield, North side”
Current circumstances won’t permit me to have memories of a lived experience in Smithfield. I’d have to visit and revisit Smithfield exclusively through your works.
Which I’m certain would be an experience of astronomical satisfaction. I can feel the air and the sun speak to me through your work 🙂
It is one of those pieces that evoke in me a sense of longing; for a place I haven’t been to.
You have my heart for this 🖤🌻
If you want to see Smithfield, see it soon. The plan for redevelopment has been approved. So over the next few years the old buildings will be covered in scaffolding. When they emerge they will be cleaner, and new structures will be inside.
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