St Vedast-alias-Foster, EC2

Here is the Anglican Church of St Vedast-alias-Foster, in the City of London, viewed from Priest’s Court.

St Vedast-alias-Foster
Memorial stone to Petro, Major Wladimir Vassilievitch Petropavlovsky

Before I drew this, I paused a while in the Fountain Court, a tranquil courtyard next to the church. In the shadow, there is a monument to “Petro”, Major Wladimir Vassilievitch Petropavlovsky. His friends awarded him the epitaph “This was a Man”. I had a look online to see if I could find out more about this person.

He was a member of the Special Expeditionary Force in the 1939-45 war in Europe. This was an organisation formed for espionage in Nazi occupied areas. I can find the record quoted, but the “National Archives” link is not working at present. There is little online that I can find.

Downloaded from, from a list compiled by Eliah Meyer.

However he did write a book, under the name, “W Petro”. I have it on order, so I shall find out more about this interesting character.

The drawing took an hour and 45 minutes. Here are some photos of work in progress.

Fountain Court, I found out afterwards, is named not after a fountain, for there is none, but after a pub that used to be in the area.

Triangular Building, North West corner

Here is the Triangular Building, West Smithfield, from the North West.

Triangular Building, North West corner.

From this view, you can see all 3 chimneys. You can also see a rather exotic metal top on what must be another vent, right in the middle, between chimneys 1 and 2. Beyond the black door, on the left, is a neat sign saying “Gentlemen”.

North face of the Triangular building. The sign in the middle, to the left of the chimney, says “Gentlemen”.

Here is work in progress on the drawing:

I have drawn the Triangular Building before. See these articles for other views, maps and more information:

The Red House and The Triangular Building, Smithfield EC1

Here is another view of The Triangular Building, drawn previously. On this view you can see the magnificent cold storage block, behind. The cold storage block is called “The Red House”. It is now dilapidated, but still magnificent. A discordant rail, carrying cables, goes horizontally across the front, function taking severe precedent over aesthetics. There’s … Continue reading “The Red House and The Triangular Building, Smithfield EC1”

Here is a complete list of my drawings of Smithfield:

Entrance to the Fish Market

Today I drew the magnificent gate which is the entrance to the Fish Market, Smithfield.

Fish Market, West Smithfield EC1

This gate is adorned with two boys riding huge fish. The fish are equipped with bridles and the boys look as though they are having enormous fun. In the drawing, you can just about make them out at the top of the gate, either side of the central pediment.

Here is the location of the drawing:

Here is work in progress on the drawing:

Here is a collection of my drawings of Smithfield:

“Catering Meats Smithfield”

Here is a section of West Smithfield, at the North West corner.

West Smithfield, North side

Work is in progress to redevelop these buildings. You can see the scaffolding on the right. This is the General Market.

I was standing outside the “Citigen CHP”. This is the unlikely location of a power station.

“The large scale community energy system is made up of a central power station and district heating network.  Natural gas fuelled by the CHP plant is located near Smithfield Market and supplies heat and cooling to ten of the City’s properties by an underground pipe network spanning over two miles.” says the website of Edina, a supplier of specialist equipment to such schemes.

It is also above the railway lines. Trains rumbled, and the pavement vibrated. A concrete mixing lorry arrived and skilfully backed into the space vacated by the previous concrete mixing lorry, who, equally skilfully, moved out of the space and departed, while workers in bright red and yellow clothes moved the barriers, in synchronism with the movement of the lorries.

The building in the centre of my drawing is “Catering Meats Smithfield”. The sign is still legible. On the right is a building that looks a bit more like a music hall than a commercial market. It has wood panels and a marvellous pineapple on the roof. The roundel on the gable says “1881”.

Whilst I was sitting on the kerbstone, putting on the colour, a man jogged past, right to left, wearing running kit. He stopped and came back. He said “It makes me happy to see you painting”. He said it very simply, a statement. The emphasis was on the word “happy”. It makes me happy to see you painting. Happy, as opposed to any other emotion.

I said, “Thank you”. Then he ran on, and I continued painting the colours. It made me happy that by being there I’d somehow given something to someone else. It made me happy that he’d said it, that he’d bothered, that he’d paused in his run and came back to utter his simple sentence. But expressing all that was complicated. So I just said, “Thank you”.

Here is work in progress:

This drawing took just over two hours. 30 min pencil, about an hour pen, and another 30+ min for the colour.

Here is a list of my drawings of Smithfield so far, click the writing to see more information:

Smithfield, North side

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.

Grand Avenue, Smithfield. A worker hoses down the floor.

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.

Meat loading bay 5 and delivery lorry, Smithfield. I forgot my glasses, which is one reason why it is a bit sketchy.

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.

Smithfield, Barbican towers, Crossrail station.

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:

Poultry Market, Smithfield EC1

This is a view of the Poultry Market, sketched today from the South side. You see East Poultry Avenue going off to the right.

East Poultry Avenue, Smithfield EC1

This is a working Meat Market. It was completed in 1963 to replace the original 1880s market which had been destroyed by fire in 1958. The “A London Inheritance” site has a moving description of the fire in their article about Smithfield.

The 1960s dome of the Poultry Market, image (c) City of London. My drawing was done from the centre right edge of the photo, looking left.

There is an amazing dome across this part of the market. I tried to find a place where I could see it. It just shows at the top of the buildings in my drawing. It spans the whole of the market area, and is supported only at its edges. Here is a picture taken from articles about redevelopment of the site.

The 1963 design is by TP Bennett and Son.

This whole structure will be refurbished to make the new Museum of London.

The drawing took about and hour and a half. The colours are Phthalo Turquoise, Fired Red Ochre, and Perylene Maroon, with some Mars Yellow for the dome, and Pyrrol Orange for the traffic signs.

The Foundation Stone of the 1960s part of Smithfield. This stone is inside the loading bay on the North side. You can see the hexagonal glazing reflected in the stone, on the right.

Here are other drawings I have done in the area:

Smithfield East Market EC1 from Long Lane

Here is Smithfield East Market on the corner of Lindsey Street and Long Lane.

This is a a wonderful building, with, as you see, paraboloid domes. It was built as a meat market in 1866-68 to the designs of Horace Jones (1819-1897), architect to the City of London. It has been a meat market ever since, and continues to operate, even through the current pandemic.

You see the glass canopy which allows goods to be unloaded under cover. Today is Sunday. This view would be impossible on a weekday. There are large refrigerated delivery lorries which arrive, often from Scotland. The driver sleeps in the cab.

Here is work in progress on the drawing. It took about 1hour30mins. The colours are Mars Yellow, Phthalo Turquoise, and Fired Red Ochre.

I am making a series of drawings of Smithfield:

The Red House and The Triangular Building, Smithfield EC1

Here is another view of The Triangular Building, drawn previously. On this view you can see the magnificent cold storage block, behind. The cold storage block is called “The Red House”. It is now dilapidated, but still magnificent. A discordant rail, carrying cables, goes horizontally across the front, function taking severe precedent over aesthetics. There’s a weird orange tube coming from one of the boarded-up doors. But still it stands. Come quickly and admire it, before it is covered up, and then transformed into something else.

The Triangular Building in front of the Red House, Smithfield, EC1

The Red House was completed in 1900. It “was designed by Andrew Murray or the City Engineer, David James Ross” 1.

Extract from a 2003 Report by English Heritage. See footnote 1.

I attempted this drawing on 4th June. However a heavy goods vehicle appeared exactly in my sightline, so I abandoned it and drew a different view. Today I returned to have another go. Being Saturday, there is less traffic today.

Here is work in progress. As you see, it rained. But I was in a doorway, and so sheltered. The doorway was that of “Urban Golf”, which accounts for the odd pictures you see in the background of the first image.

Map showing the location of The Red House. The arrow shows my sightline. Map credit: © OpenStreetMap contributors

Note 1: NBR File no: 92219, NGR: TQ 3161 8163, Reports and Papers B/013/2003, Report by Joanna Smith and Jonathan Clarke, Photographs by Derek Kendall and Nigel Corrie. The document in full is on the following link as a pdf (53 pages).

An extract from the 2003 Report by English Heritage. See footnote 1.

The Triangular Building, Smithfield EC1

Here is “The Triangular Building” in West Smithfield. I have sketched it from the South. This is its South West corner.

Triangular Building, West Smithfield.

The question is: what is it? It has three vertical columns above, which look like chimney stacks, but might be vents of some sort. One is shown on the left of the drawing and another is just visible above the roof.

I found a marvellous document online, published by English Heritage: Western Markets, London Central Markets Smithfield, A Report by the Historical Research and Conservation Support London Team, June 20031

This suggests that the Triangular Block might have housed the base of a tall chimney stack. The chimney was for the boiler room of the Cold Store, which is adjacent. It was built around 1884. Certainly there were toilets in there, either originally or later, as there is a neat sign saying “GENTLEMEN” on the other side. The door is blocked up.

It is clear that whoever funded, designed and used this building cared about it, and was proud of it. The windows have key-stones, and there are stripes of decoration in the brickwork, now very much eroded. The chimney stacks also are decorated with bands. The building is on a sloping road, and must have been quite hard to build.

from the English Heritage report – see note (1) at the end of this article.

This whole area is due to be redeveloped2. In the distance on the left you can see “Denton Bros”, which I drew in a previous post. The crane in the background is from the Crossrail site at Farringdon. The buildings in the background are the Central Markets, still very much operational.

For more on Smithfield Market (and much more besides) , I recommend the wonderful “A London Inheritance” website. The article about West Smithfield is on this link:

Location of the Triangular Building. Arrow shows my sightline in the drawing. Map © OpenStreetMap contributors
  1. NBR File no: 92219, NGR: TQ 3161 8163, Reports and Papers B/013/2003, Report by Joanna Smith and Jonathan Clarke, Photographs by Derek Kendall and Nigel Corrie. The document in full is on the following link as a pdf (53 pages).
  1. Here is a leaflet About the redevelopment. The leaflet is not dated, but must be fairly recent as it was lodged in people’s letterboxes as I walked through Smithfield today. I picked this one up off the pavement.
Timescale of the redevelopment, as set out in the leaflet.

Here is a collection of my other drawings in Smithfield:

West Poultry Avenue, Smithfield EC1

I set off to go and draw the architecture of the South Bank. Walking through West Smithfield on the way, I thought, The South Bank will always be there, but Smithfield is about to be redeveloped. Draw it Now.

Green painted iron protectors for the door posts.

So here is Denton Bros , on the corner of West Poultry Avenue and West Smithfield. I like this building. The green objects at the base of the doorposts are made of iron. I think they must be to protect the brickwork from being bashed by market trolleys. The windows are well made and ornate. The lower panes are wood, which must have been for some specific purpose. I wonder if it is so the supervisors can open a wooden door and lean out to examine proceedings below. Or perhaps it was to stop lowly clerks on the first floor from wasting time looking out of the window.

Denton Bros. West Smithfield.

Smithfield is the main wholesale Meat Market in London. The East part of the Market is fully operational. Opening hours are 2am to about 7am, Monday to Friday. It sells meat to restaurants and butchers, and also to any members of the general public who show up. It has been open right through the pandemic, which has been very useful.

The West part of the market is dilapidated, as you see in the picture. It was due to be demolished in 2012 and replaced by restaurants, offices. The demolition was prevented by campaigning groups, ‘Save Britain’s Heritage’, and others. Now the plan is that the Museum of London will relocate there, from its current site in the Barbican. They will preserve the façade of the existing buildings. See the picture below. The place I drew will be part of the “portal” welcoming visitors in. Here is a an extract from the Museum of London website, downloaded 2nd June.

Visitors will enter through West Poultry Avenue. It will be both part of the city and a portal to the museum, and its character will remain that of a street. It will be a place of arrival, orientation and promise. Our team will welcome visitors and help them to navigate the museum – and, if they need it, the city itself. From here, visitors will move into the General Market or the Poultry Market, or they can stop awhile for a drink in The Cocoa Rooms café. This space will reflect London in real time – the present not the past, the London we experience today, the 24-hour city, constantly on the move. Data visualisations incorporated into the street will reflect London in the moment.

Here is where the new Museum of London will be, and what it will look like. You can recognise the building I drew.

The existing wholesale Meat Market, in the eastern part of the site, will relocate to Barking, that’s the plan. I don’t know what will go where the eastern market is now.

I had better do some more sketching around Smithfield, before the whole thing is swathed in plastic and transformed. Here is work in progress on the sketch. It took one and a half hours. The colours are: Phthalo Turquoise, Mars Yellow, Perylene Maroon and a bit of Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

Here are some maps to show you where it is. Click to enlarge.

Here is a collection of my drawings of Smithfield: click on the words to see more information.