The Fishwives of Billingsgate


We’ve been in London for a few days, celebrating friends’ birthdays and enjoying a bit of Mahler at the Barbican.  On Friday morning, with a bright and clear outlook, we decided to revisit some recent discoveries and add a couple of new ones to the list.  With camera in hand, we set out from our bolthole in Spitalfields and headed towards the area of our photographic walk last December.




What a difference the weather makes.  Last time, it was all rather wet and flat and those reflections in the windows were of grey skies and raindrops.  This time, it was bright and breezy – still cold, but we were wrapped up warm and still reaping the rewards of the porridge we’d had for breakfast!




So, with a spring in our step and Oyster cards in our pockets, we headed for the Docklands Light Railway and for the first time in twenty or so years, decided to explore Canary Wharf.  It’s changed quite a bit in that time and on a busy Friday lunchtime, we appeared to be the only ones with time to spare to stand and stare.




As the hundreds and thousands of office workers hurried around, we admired the details underfoot, taking photographs rather quickly, so as not to get in the way!  These mosaics, beautifully detailed and offering an insight into the history and background of London trades and occupations caught my eye and I made a mental note to return at a quieter time of day to spend longer looking, reading and drawing.

So, taking my photograph quickly, I wasn’t able to capture the wording which surrounds the panel: “The trade in tea, coffee and chocolate created a huge demand for porcelain cups and saucers” 

I did, however, get this one:




“The fishwives of Billingsgate Market had an awesome reputation for their foul language and ribaldry”

I bet they did!




How about “The original Canary Wharf took its name from the tomatoes, fruit and potatoes imported here from the Canary Islands”?




And “Dockers in the carpet warehouse were more skilled in identifying origins than experts in museums”

A total of thirteen panels each one telling a different story – what a great way to record the history of this city.  Sadly, my photographs don’t do the rich colours and beautiful compositions justice, though this gives me a very good reason to return.




I have a sneaky feeling that someone else will enjoy a visit here, too.








But next time, we’ll not come on Friday lunchtime!

The Social Whirl

Monday Morning Mystery