Fishwives and Firestarters

A City of London Steeplechase, part 2: Billingsgate Ward


  1. This is a Storify companion to my Wordpress blog guide to the City of London's Billingsgate Ward, part of a series of virtual guided walks that will take in all 100 or so of the City's churches, past and present, and much more besides.
  2. These additional Storify posts provide access to video clips, images, tweets etc by other authors that compliment the blog posts. The first clip is a 1949 Pathe News piece on the remarkable remote-controlled clock of St Mary-at-Hill:
  3. Remote-Controlled Clock (1949)
  4. Followed by a clip of a lovely choral piece from inside the church:
  5. My third piece on St Mary-at-Hill is a post from the wonderful Spitalfields Life blog covering the annual Fish Harvest Festival, celebrating the church's long and close association with Billlingsgate Market:
  6. In the next clip we move to St Margaret Pattens for some good shots of the interior and exterior.
  7. Glimpses of London Churches 24
  8. Next to Billingsgate Market itself: some pieces illustrating the history of the market :
  9. ...and here's an old clip from 1946 of the market at work. Note the peculiar leather hats ("bobbins") worn by the porters that enabled them to balance boxes of fish on their heads!
  10. Billingsgate Fish Market (1946)
  11. Back to Spitalfields Life again for some lovely 1960s photographs of the area around the market and a piece on the demise of the Billingsgate Porter following the market's move to Canary Wharf:
  12. 'Billingsgate' is synonymous with foul language. Here are three pieces explaining the history and celebrating that assocation:
  13. The Language of Billingsgate Fish Market
  14. And finally, covering the "Firestarters" part of the title, the role of Billingsgate Ward as the seat of the Great Fire of London: