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Smithfield shows off sausages – knotting and dogs!

Spirit of the Bartholomew Fair is evoked at bash to celebrate meat market’s 150 years

31 August, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Paula Jennings with Muffin, Abi Deane with Rosa, Laura Bright with Nalu and Zena Deane with Huxley – members of the Dachshund group, London Low Riders 

THOUSANDS descended on Smithfield Market to celebrate its 150th anniversary last weekend – including some tiny little legs.

The iconic meat market hosted what was coined as the capital’s biggest birthday bash with live music and game zones while hundreds of dogs took part in the sausage dog parade.

The free two-day party had the spirit of the Bartholomew Fair – a three-day event in the area that ended in the 1800s.

Greg Lawrence, who chairs the Smithfield Market Tenants’ Association, which represents traders and helped organise the event, said: “It’s fantastic. People realise how important Smithfield Market is for London and the south east – it puts the community on the map.

The Carnival of Delights

“Everything is brought into the mix with this. It really connects with the old Bartholomew Fair.”

Mr Lawrence has worked at the market, which trades overnight, since he was 16 years old and said being a trader is in “their blood”.

“The traders all start at nine at night usually, so seeing it today is a different world,” he said.

Five-year-old Xander Kelly from Hackney

There was a colourful and mesmerising parade by the Bartholomew Carnival of Delights with band Kinetica Bloco and a roller disco.

Three quarters of the acts were female to mark the centenary of some women gaining the vote for the first time.

The event was organised by Culture Mile, a partnership of four UK arts and culture institutions – Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Museum of London – led by the City of London Corporation. The Museum of London is due to move into a long-abandoned section of the market in the coming years, while maintaining its original character and structure.

Lauren Parker, senior curator at the Museum of London, said: “Smithfield 150 was everything we hoped it would be and more. It was wonderful to see all walks of life from young to old having fun together over the bank holiday weekend. It was a really joyous occasion filled with fun.”

Meanwhile, the market may also be moving home after the City of London Corporation announced a “proposal has been agreed in principle” to merge Smithfield with Billingsgate and New Spitalfields markets on a 100-acre site.

Mr Lawrence said the association will be meeting with the City imminently.

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