Skip to content

Around Old Billingsgate

June 6, 2020
by the gentle author

These intriguing photographs are selected from a cache of transparencies of unknown origin at the Bishopsgate Institute. We believe they date from the nineteen-sixties but the photographer is unidentified. 

Fish Porters at Number One Snack Bar next to St Magnus the Martyr

Looking west along Lower Thames St and Monument St

Sign outside St Mary-At-Hill

Pushing barrows of ice up Lovat Lane

Passage next to St Mary-At-Hill

Carved mice on a building in Eastcheap

Old shop in Eastcheap

Billingsgate Market cat

Inside the fish market designed by Horace Jones

Old staircase near Billingsgate

The Coal Exchange, built 1847 demolished 1962

Part of London Bridge crossing Lower Thames St, now removed

The Old Wine Shades, Martin Lane

Sign of a Waterman, now in Museum of London

In All Hallows Lane

Derelict site next to Cannon St Station

Looking towards Bankside Power Station by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, now Tate Modern

Old Blackfriars Station

The Blackfriar pub

Sculptures upon the Blackfriar

Sunrise over Tower Bridge

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

You may also like to take a look at

At the Fish Harvest Festival

Charlie Caisey, Fishmonger

Roland Collins’ Photographs

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Jamie permalink
    June 6, 2020

    What a treat – thank you for sharing TGA

  2. Alec permalink
    June 6, 2020

    Photos of then and know might be interesting
    Yours alec
    Keep up the good work

  3. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 6, 2020

    Look closely at the car registrations, & types if you can read them?
    The min Van ( Blackfriars photo ) was not put into production until 1960, so your time window is narrowed to between then & the Coal Exchange demolition.

  4. June 6, 2020

    My school had links with The City (it was founded at St Brides off Fleet St) and so we were taken to visit the old markets in their heyday. I remember being shown around (Old) Billingsgate which was in many ways the most attractive market. The freezer room in the basement (at the time in the 60’s) had six feet thick walls of ice as it had never been defrosted since the day it was commissioned – even during the second world war! I think in the end they had to remove all the ice (around 1969?) because it was taking up too much space!
    When so many European cities have re-invented these old markets into foodie places so that they are still open for the community it is a shame that Old Billingsgate is an events venue, particularly given its wonderful architecture and superb position on the bank of the river.

  5. June 6, 2020

    Beautiful pictures. What a pity some of the buildings have disappeared such as the Coal Exchange and part of London Bridge. Sometimes improvements are really “disimprovements”.

  6. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 6, 2020

    The mini van in the Black Friar pub photo means that it is after January 1960.
    You youself state that the Coal Exchange was deomolished in 1962 – & there may be a date clue in the photo taken in Lower Thames St from the parked cars, but not clear enough at this resolution, I’m afraid

  7. J Jackson permalink
    June 6, 2020

    Hooray for old cardboard boxes and the treasures that can be found in them. What a wonderful record of the market and the rich history of the area.

  8. paul loften permalink
    June 6, 2020

    I love these photos !. My dad used to work at the international telecommunications HQ at Fleet Buiding in Farringdon street and I would sometimes meet him outside the building. Although he is long gone I could almost see him there walking the streets. They are all so evocative of London in the 1960s. What a shame that the photographer is unknown.
    Thank you for showing them

  9. June 6, 2020

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, very interesting shots of London a half century ago. Really liked the “Sign of a Waterman” now happily preserved in the Museum of London.

    I was also intrigued by the free-standing Black Friars Pub. No doubt it is long gone.

  10. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 6, 2020

    Helen Breen
    The Black Friar is lovingly preserved as it’s a Listed Building – the interior is wonderfully (over) decorated. Unfortunately closed at present, of course, because of the C-19 virus panic.

  11. June 6, 2020

    I enjoyed these Pictures Very Much. Thank You.???????

  12. June 7, 2020

    I so enjoyed looking at these old photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. When I’m next out walking I plan to visit this part of London. I must pop into the Black Friar for a drink when it’s open! Thank you again.

  13. June 7, 2020

    The photos of Billingsgate and the fishmongers are amazing. They capture the atmosphere of the area.

  14. July 2, 2020

    Great memories of a legendary market. Please help to promote these and more memories on my Group too.

  15. John permalink
    August 27, 2020

    Always find these pictures very interesting where we came from and where we go. And in the future could play a really important part to get us back to somewhere better.

    I know times where hard, but these places have a lot more meaning , they where the foundation of our evolution before this people where living rural you could say more tribal lifes.

    Cites grew with us over hundreds of years , where part of us. From the 80s it became more riddget people communities moved force to, told where to live business to, it wasn’t natural.

    It like trying to recreate a fun day out, you cant it just happens.

    You can see it the world over , after these went it was never the same again it really cleanse whom we where.

    And the lost has never been fully ammited. When people talk they told rose tinted glasses and compare it today.

    If there was just improvements and councils didn’t purposely neglectet these could of stayed wonderful communities that continue to evolve.

    Than what we have today the world over generic city’s without the buzz and engery the people their character brought.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS