Writing Portfolio


London's market names

A few years ago, I used to help out occasionally on a stall at Broadway Market – the one where Dad sold the finest Cheshire cheese (made, of course, in Cheshire) to discerning consumers of traditional English cheeses. Days at the market involved early starts, much cheese-related talk, generous discounts at the stalls of fellow-traders and a slow journey back to North London afterwards if Arsenal happened to be playing at home on that particular Saturday.

Those days came to mind recently, along with thoughts of early-morning visits to Billingsgate and Smithfield, when I was working on my latest piece for Londonist – another instalment of its popular etymology series, this one on how London’s various markets got their names. Here’s the link:

As usual with tales of etymology, stories abound as origins can be found in the most unlikely places; here, we have appearances by the illegitimate son of James II and a naval hero associated with Horatio Hornblower, some Canadian content and a mythical pre-Roman British king. Plus some fantastic market photos taken by Allison!

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