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[Weekly Markets]

The WEEKLY MARKETS held in Middlesex amount to nine, independent of those of the metropolis; namely, at Barnet, on Monday morning; Southall and Finchley, on Wednesday; Uxbridge, Brentford, Hounslow, and Edgeware, on Thursday; Staines, on Friday; and at Enfield on Saturday. At Uxbridge market a great deal of corn is sold; and there is a large public granary over the market place, for the purpose of depositing it from one week to another. At Hounslow market there is a considerable show of fat cattle; such of them as are not disposed of there are sent on to London. Smithfield market is famous for the sale of bullocks, sheep, lambs, calves, and hogs, every Monday, and again, though in a less degree, on Friday: on the latter day there is also a market for horses. Leadenhall market is the greatest in London for the sale of country-killed meat, and is the only skin and leather market within the bills of mortality. It has of late years been much improved, the market-places, entrances, &c., being made more neat and commodious. Newgate market is the second great place for country-killed meat; and at both Leadenhall and Newgate markets are sold pigs and poultry killed in the country, together with fresh butter, eggs, &c., to an astonishing amount. The three last markets supply the butchers of London, and its vicinity, almost entirely, and pretty generally to the distance of twelve miles and upwards, it being a current opinion, that live cattle can be bought cheaper at Smithfield than at any other place. At Billingsgate is the fish market, which is principally supplied by fishing smacks and boats coming from the sea up the river Thames, and partly with fresh fish by land-carriage from every distance within the limits of England, and part of Wales: this market is held daily. The Corn market is held in Mark lane every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; but the chief business is done on Monday. At Whitechapel, Smithfield and the Haymarket, hay and straw are sold three times a week, and the metropolis is further supplied with the same articles by the market recently established at Paddington, and from another market for hay and straw held four times weekly in Southwark. Various other markets, for butchers' meat, vegetables, &c., are held in different parts of the metropolis, as will be learned from the interesting details that follow:—

The quantity of LIVE STOCK in and about London is probably less than in any other county, in proportion to the number of acres, with the exception of the cows kept in the vicinity of London, for the purpose of supplying the metropolis with MILK. These cows are chiefly of a large size, with short horns, and are distinguished by the name of Holderness cattle, from a district so called in the East Ruling of Yorkshire, but to which the breed has long ceased to be confined. The entire number kept by the London cow-keepers is estimated to be about9,600; viz., 7,900 in Middlesex, 801 in Kent, and 899 in Surrey. The quantity of milk yielded by each cow has been averaged at nine quarts a day, at least, but the vast total is about 7,884,000 gallons annual produce.

Some deduction must be made for sucklings, and the rest is to supply the consumption of London and its immediate dependencies. The price at which, the milk is sold to the retail-dealer (who agrees with the cow-keeper for the produce of a certain number of cows, and takes the labour of milking them upon himself), varies from 1s. 8d. to 1s. 10d. for eight quarts, according to the distance from town; taking at the medium, i.e., 1s. 9d., the whole amount will be (allowing for sucklings) 328,000l. In delivering the milk to the consumer, a vast increase takes place, not only in the price, but also in the quantity, which is greatly adulterated with water, and sometimes impregnated with still worse ingredients, to hide the cheat: by these practices, and the additional charge made for cream, the sum paid by the public has been calculated to be as much more, 646,000l., nay, one writer has said the advance or profit is 150 per cent.!! The milk is conveyed to the consumers in tin vessels, called pails, which are principally carried about by woman, mostly robust Welsh girls: it is distributed twice daily through all parts of the town. The profits undoubtedly are great where the consumption is constant and certain; but implicit confidence, as we have before intimated, must not be placed in those who are fond of indulging in round and marvellous numbers.

The Kitchen Gardens

The Fruit Gardens

The Nursery Gardens

Ale and Porter

Supply of Fish


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