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The market dates from the 14th century and is said to derive its name from Leather-hall, though it is disputable. The early history of Leaden Hall involves the Mayor (1446), Simon Eyre. According to John Stow. “Eyre, a draper built Leaden Hall for a common garner of corn for the use of this city”. Stow Survey of London.
The Market is typically open weekdays from 10 am until 6 pm, and primarily sells fresh food; among the vendors there are cheesemongers, butchers and florists. Originally a meat, game and poultry market, it stands on what was the centre of Roman London. A number of commercial retailers are also located in the market, including clothes shops.
The ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors of the current structure, designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones (who was also the architect of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets), make Leadenhall Market a tourist attraction.
The main entrance to the market is on Gracechurch Street. The double height entrance is flanked by tall, narrow gabled red brick and Portland stone blocks in a 17th-century Dutch style. The adjacent buildings to the south have a continuous retail frontage which is punctuated by narrow entrances to pedestrian ways into the market.
Between 1990 and 1991 the market received a dramatic redecoration which improved its appearance, enhancing its architectural character and detail. The redecoration scheme received a special mention in the Civic Trust Awards in 1994. The market is a Grade II* listed building, being listed in 1972.
It was used to represent the area of London near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and is featured in the films The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Hereafter (2010), Brannigan (1975), Hidden City (1987) and Love Aaj Kal (2009). It was also used in the music video for the 1991 Erasure song “Love to Hate You”.
Leadenhall Market formed part of the marathon course of the 2012 Olympic Games; runners passed through the market from Whittington Avenue to Lime Street.
2021 marks the 700th anniversary of Leadenhall Market, which dates back to 1321 and is situated in what was the centre of Roman London. Originally a meat, poultry and game market, it is now home to a number of boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars and an award-winning pub.
Starting as the site of a manor, Leadenhall Market has survived changes in use, rebuilding, and even the Great Fire to become a popular destination for city residents, visitors and workers. Situated in the centre of the City of London’s financial district, the current Grade II listed Market building, designed by Horace Jones, dates back to 1881. Its airy and light wrought iron and glass structure replaced the stone market previously created by Lord Mayor of London, Dick Whittington in the 15th Century. Leadenhall Market is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation. www.leadenhallmarket.co.uk
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