Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I've decide to continue on with bees for a bit and am going to start stitching "June" from the Prairie Schooler's "A Prairie Year II". 

Today we took a walk in the Clerkenwell district of northwest London.  My Mom was the tour leader.
The walk began at the Smithfield meat market.
In the middle ages this was "Smooth field" - a broad grassy area outside the London Wall along the river Fleet. Because of the access to grazing and water,  it was used as the city's main livestock market for centuries.

One of the oldest markets in London, meat has been traded in Smithfield for 800 years. 

This present day market is the results of Victorian reforms as the conditions of the animals, the smells, and garbage were appalling.  The market was destroyed near the end of WWII, and this current market was built.  

The wholesale market is most active in the very early morning hours, but even at 11:00am we could see a butcher or two. 

Next up on our tour was St. Bartholomew the Great.  It is a Norman church built as part of St. Bartholomew's Priory in 1123.  Rahere, the jester of King Henry provided the monies after miraculously surviving a dire illness.

I like the fact that as big and touristy as London is, you can still find something off the beaten track that is quiet and contemplative.  Though that may not always be the case as this church has been used in many movies including "Four Wedding and a Funeral" and "Shakespeare in Love".  I imagine it is a scene of much industry and chaos when an active movie set.   

This is Rahere's tomb inside the church. 

The Smithfield area has a very bloody history.  Executions took place near the market.  It is here that Sir William Wallace, among others,  was done in. 

As we walked along I was pleased to see several street food vendors set up on Grenville Road.

This one, serving Ghanaian food is called "Spinach and Agushi".

I was  totally lost (directionally) as we meandered about on our walk.  Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Shard and St. Paul's make an appearance.

No walk about the city is complete without noticing a pub or two.
This was my favorite.  The Bleeding Heart pub is named after nearby Bleeding Heart Yard.  The yard appears in Dicken's "Little Dorrit" home to the Plornish family.  Legend has it that Lady Elizabeth Hatton danced with the Spanish Ambassador at the Winter ball of 1626.  She was later found dead with her heart still pumping away.  How gruesome is that?  She actually died of old age.  

And hey, look here!
I think this is a Great Tit.  Please feel free to weigh in if you thing otherwise.


Ann at Beadlework. said...

You're really soaking in the history Beth - there's so much to see and do in London.

Barb said...

So many interesting things to see. And we think 200 years is "Old" here in the USA!Thanks so much for sharing this great trip!

Margaret said...

That's so interesting about the Smithfield meat market. So interesting about everything in this post! I'm loving the tour!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us! Any chance you guys are going to wander over to Spitalfields where the silk weavers were? Just curious - have a great time!

Jan said...

I haven't seen that Prairie School pattern before. It looks great. Enjoy your trip.

cucki said...

i just love it so much..
sending you big hugs x

Giovanna said...

St. Bartholomew is one of my favourite buildings in London - so old and beautiful. I love seeing all the colourful coats of arms too. And yes, I'd agree that that's a GT :-)

Chris said...


The Inspired Stitcher said...

This is just so fun! I'm really enjoying my daily visits to London with you! Have a wonderful day!

Simple Pleasure said...

I am so enjoying "traveling" with you and Mom! I trust yesterday's attack in London has not dampened your holiday.
Please find some needlework shops!
Busy Hands...Happy Heart

Melody said...

It looks like you are having a great trip! It's fun to share it with you on your blog.

Susan said...

My son would have loved to see the meat market as he's a butcher (there are still a few of them around). Thank you so much for the photos and information - travel is not in my near future but it is nice to be able to enjoy your trip with you.

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

The architecture is so beautiful, and I love the shade of red that the pub's exterior is painted. Also love the little bird! We had a male and female goldfinch eating away at the turquoise-colored sunflower seed feeder this morning--quite a sight! They don't stop by here very often.

Melanie said...

Really, really enjoyed all the pics you've posted on your trip. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!

(And you know I'm up for a bee theme!)