London Month of the Dead - Present, Present and Future, October 2019, A series on death curated by Antique Beat and A Curious Invitation supporting Brompton and Kensal Green cemeteries

A Guided Tour of Smithfield with Pete Smith
Sunday 29th October 2023 at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm

Explore the macabre history of "Smooth Field" (aka Smithfield) on this special London Month of the Dead walking tour with historical guide PETE SMITH.

In medieval times Smithfield was used as a brutal public execution ground (‘Braveheart' William Wallace and Wat Tyler, leader of the Peasants’ Revolt, not to mention some 200 ‘heretics’ in the reign of Mary Tudor, met their grisly ends here) as well as doubling up as a meat market, which has existed for a thousand years and still supplies the capital's restaurants and shops. The current market building was designed by Sir Horace Jones, the Victorian architect of Tower Bridge.

We will hear of revolution, subterranean secrets, stories of some of the capital’s finest pubs and of how Londoners once managed, quite legally, to sell their wives at Smithfield. Pete will also highlight the area’s links to bodysnatching, the case of one of London's most famous ghosts - and the history of Bartholomew Fair – the most debauched and drunken holiday in the calendar - which lasted for seven centuries before being killed off by the prurience of the Victorians.

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation toward a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery.

Pete Smith is a Devon-born academic who has lived in London since the age of ten. Since retiring as Head of English and Dean of Arts at Brunel University (a job he describes as very like managing the salad bar at Smithfield Meat Market), he has reinvented himself as a City of London and City of Westminster guide and freelance lecturer.

Image credit - The Burning of John Rogers at Smithfield. Public domain image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.