The Leadenhall Market in east London has a long and fascinating history. Its life dates back to the 15th century, when it started as a grain and other foodstuffs market. It survived the Great Fire of 1666 and continued to develop, becoming a hub for wool, leather and cutlery, in addition to food.
In the nineteenth century, the stonework market was redeveloped by Sir Horace Jones into a wrought iron and glass design that still delights the market’s visitors.
Over its years, it has had famous residents and visitors, including many well known wizards when it played the part of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But its most famous resident was Tom – so famous that his obituary appeared in the Times after his death at the age of 37 in March 1835.
Tom was a goose, said to have arrived from Belgium having followed his girlfriend. The rest of his flock rapidly became dinner for market shoppers, but Tom survived and became a regular visitor to the market and the surrounding inns, where he was welcomed and fed with scraps. After his death from natural causes, he was buried at the market.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 30 June 2016
Part of Cee’s B&W Challenge