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We are not affiliated with Billingsgate Market itself. This is only a fan site.

We offer a brief guide about the services provided by this market in East London.

Many processed or 'added-value' fish and fish products are on display such as cured and smoked fish and roe; prepared products ready for the table; fish soups; cooked shellfish and pates.

Billingsgate is the United Kingdom's largest inland fish market. An average of 35,000 tonnes of fish and fish products are sold through its merchants each year. Approximately 42% of that tonnage comprises fish imported from abroad. The annual turnover of the Market is estimated to be in the region of 300m

Where does the fish come from

Billingsgate is served by almost every port in the United Kingdom-from Aberdeen to Penzance. Most of the fish is transported by road directly from the coast and arrives at the market in the early hours of the morning.

Imported frozen fish is usually shipped in large refrigerated containers. Imported chilled fish is often airfreighted - sometimes from countries thousands of miles away-or arrives by sea via roll-on, roll off ferries. Live imports include lobsters from Canada and eels from as far away as New Zealand.

Welcome to the largest inland fish market in the U.K.

Billingsgate Market Guide - History

the biggest fish market in Europe

Market History

The Market rights of the City of London were based on a charter granted by Edward III in 1327 which prohibited the setting up of rival markets within 6.6 miles of the City, (six and two thirds miles being the distance a person could be expected to walk to market, sell his produce and return in a day). In 1400 King Henry 1V granted to the citizens the right, by charter, to collect tolls and customs at Billingsgate, Cheap and Smithfield. Since then, the Billingsgate Market Acts of 1846 and 1871 and the City of London (Various Powers) Acts of 1973, 1979, 1987 and 1990, have confirmed the City's role as the Market Authority and laid down its responsibilities and rights, including the making of regulations, byelaws and the collection of tolls, rents and other charges.

Billingsgate was known as Blynesgate and Byllynsgate before the name settled into its present form. The origin of the name is unclear and could refer to a watergate at the south side of the City where goods were landed-perhaps owned by a man named 'Biling'-or it may have originated with Belin (400BC) an ancient King of the period.

Billingsgate was originally a general market for corn, coal, iron, wine, salt, pottery, fish and miscellaneous goods and does not seem to have become associated exclusively with the fish trade until the sixteenth century.

In 1699 an Act of Parliament was passed making it "a free and open market for all sorts of fish whatsoever". The only exception to this was the sale of eels which was restricted to Dutch fishermen whose boats were moored in the Thames. This was because they had helped feed the people of London during the Great Fire.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, fish and seafood were sold from stalls and sheds around the 'hythe' or dock at Billingsgate. As the amount of fish handled increased, a purpose-built market became essential. In 1850 the first Billingsgate Market building was constructed on Lower Thames Street but it proved to be inadequate and was demolished in 1873 to make way for the building which still stands in Lower Thames Street today. This was designed by the City Architect, Sir Horace Jones and built by John Mowlem. It was opened in 1876. It is now a listed building.



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