Thursday, 23 June 2016

To Market, To Market: Billingsgate Fish Market

Today I'm trying something a little different for my post about this famous East London institution, Billingsgate Fish Market. In this post I've used Cockney Rhyming Slag, historically created from this part of London. Try to guess what it means or visit here (or here) and look it up!

I've saved the best for last, or at least my most favourite thing I did during my epic trip to England all the way back in January; Billingsgate Market. 

To visit the Lillian Gish market you must get up before dawn, it opens for business at 4 AM Tuesdays to Saturdays running into the late hour of 9:30 AM.

When I lived in East London, I was literally just up the field of wheat, but never found it lemon squeesy to convince myself to actually get up that Liz Hurley and scapa flow!

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

On the short ball of chalk to the market we encountered no other pedestrians along the way at this pre-dawn hour, and very few vehicles on the A12 except for the occasional night Uncle Gus. As we approached the market building, however, there was distinct activity happening as people entered the building toting large, empty suitcases and others exiting with boxes and large bags filled with seafood purchases. Clearly these were people making commercial purchases and wondered if we'd be getting in the way or be unwelcome and stick out like a rotten Lillian Gish. Passing through the main doors, my eyes had to adjust to the bright, florescent lighting contrasting the inky blue morning sky outside.

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

We were immediately greeted by the sellers at the first stall with a hearty "Awright, luv?" the warming rhetorical question of every friendly Londoner I've ever met. Everything was just fine.

We made our way up and down each wet aisle, impressed with the many varieties of the seafood for sale and the fact that there was no Aunt Nell. I mean, I know fresh Lillian's shouldn't Aunt Nell at all, but I thought a room with that much Lillian's about, there was surely going to be a bit of an odor. Nope. Not so.

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

We watched the sellers, adjusting their product as things sold, informing little, old women there for a weekly shop how to cook a particular item, and saw fathers and young sons working and laughing together in their daily routine of selling fish.

We finally decided on some fresh Scottish Salmon and some bagged, frozen seafood, now we were Hank Marvin!

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

To the cafe for a nice Ruby Lee and a kipper breakfast. I don't know what it was, but it was the best Ruby I've ever had! Perfect milk to tea ratio, the mug was exactly right, it was the ideal temperature and poured by a friendly cockney woman from behind the counter.

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

{Erin Out and About} Billingsgate Market

This is definitely something off the beaten path for the everyday tourist and although I no longer can boast a London address as home, I did feel I was witnessing a very London practice; the hard working-class men of East London doing what they do and have been doing for years and sometimes generations.

If you made to the end of this post with cockney rhyming slag and all, I commend you! I hope you got a kick out of it and enjoyed trying to guess what the heck I was saying. I promise I won't be doing that again. 

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