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Supply of Fish

THE one general market for fish, that supplies all London, has been mentioned; and its insufficiency has frequently been complained of. That there should be only one fish market, that of Billingsgate, to supply a metropolis now consisting of 1,200,000 persons is amazing: but that fish should frequently be as scarce and as extravagantly high-priced as if we lived 100 or 150 miles in the interior, will excite no astonishment after the statement of such fact. Various remedies for what fish-dealers themselves own to be a serious evil have been projected. New markets along the banks of the Thames to supply the different parts of the metropolis, as well as the suburbs, for miles round, which receive fish from London, have been devised. Great exertions were particularly made to occupy the waste of Hungerford Market as a fish market, and that station would be a very good one; but that scheme, like the rest, appears to have been abandoned. One market still could be the means of forwarding this article of trade in sufficient abundance throughout and round the metropolis, if the arrival of vessels could be more accurately depended upon. As it is, the vessels are controllable by wind and tide, and many are frequently weather-bound at the Nore, till they are obliged to throw their cargoes overboard, and return to get re-laden. Should one vessel only arrive, the supply is so limited, that the article, as a matter of course, fetches enormous prices. This is the natural consequence of a confined supply, not of the arts of any set of men. On the other hand, another fleet coming in may overtake those that had been detained at the Nore, and if all are able to arrive, then is the market over-stocked, and large fish hawked about at a penny each, without finding enough customers.

This inconvenience is frequently experienced in the mackerel season, and sometimes in the salmon season. To obviate this evil is the remedy wanted: and it has been stated, that steam vessels were about to be embarked in the fish-carrying trade. Of their success there could be little doubt; and the advantages that would result to the metropolis are unquestionable.

The Weekly Markets

The Kitchen Gardens

The Fruit Gardens

The Nursery Gardens

Ale and Porter


Supply of Cattle

Fairs and Markets

Water Works

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819