You think you know the famous Victorian market in the City of London, with its ornate decoration, but there’s a hidden side to this decorative gem.
In this, the market’s 700th anniversary year, there was a chance to see the market from a very different perspective — from the rooftop.
Access to the roof is only possible through a secured window in an office, which we climbed through on a ladder and up here it’s a very different world. Narrow walkways lined with drains from the original days and wide metal walkways added to the building later. The noise from the bars and pubs several floors below is surprisingly loud, as the roof is not solid, but lined with ventilation slots. Originally to let the smells from the meat market escape, today they’re more used to the smell of beer and fine dining.
Running around the outside are the stone decorations, with the City of London crest over the tops of the entrances, and various vases and urns as finials. Victorian decorative styles are appreciated from the ground, but the detail of the carving is much more evident when you’re up close, even after 140 years of London’s pollution affecting the stone.
Once standing up here would have given a view across much of the City, but today the old meat market is surrounded by buildings supporting the work of the stock market instead. Tall towers, Edwardian offices and on one corner a hole where a new tower is soon to rise.
Although not to be seen by the market traders below, the quality of the workmanship is still evident in the brickwork of the upper floors, and the wooden pitched roof with the glass ventilation slots. Also unseen is that the central rotunda, which was recently restored inside has a row of flag poles on the outside.
The market, as a historically important building, is a bit like the Forth bridge, they never quite seem to finish the painting and maintenance to keep it looking as it does from below.
So here are a few photos of the side of Leadenhall Market that’s not often seen.
Thanks to the market managment for the opportunity to go up onto the roof and share these views with you.