Billingsgate Market Under Threat European Fish Trader Published: 02 December, 2002
BILLINGSGATE fish market may be forced to move from its Docklandâs home of 20 years in order to make way for a tenant paying much higher premiums.
Since medieval times, Billingsgate has paid just one fish for a yearâs rent. The Lord Mayor of London takes receipt of the fish, and then passes it to the owner of the land, namely Tower Hamlets council. However, it now seems that modernity and commercial realism has caught up with Britainâs oldest inland fish market.
The Corporation of London, which moved the market to its existing site in Docklands 20 years ago, now realises that it occupies valuable real estate.
The value of the 13-acre plot is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, much more than could ever be realised by the last vestiges of Londonâs once thriving seafood trade.
Under the London Wholesale Markets Review, undertaken by Nicholas Saphir, it has been recommended that the market should be split up and dispersed amongst several sites around London.
These include New Covent Garden, and the new Smithfield meat market. Billingsgate executives insist that if the market is moved, it should be moved wholesale.