Two of London’s oldest meat, poultry and fish markets are waving bye-bye to their homes in the city centre. The City of London has approved plans to move the Billingsgate and Smithfield markets to Dagenham.
Originally, the OG Smithfield, Billingsgate and New Spitalfields markets were all going to be moved and combined into one mega market in Dagenham, but plans have changed. New Spitalfields, which sells fruit, veg and flowers, will remain in Leyton for the time being, where it’s been since 1991. The City said it plans to move New Spitalfields to Dagenham eventually, but it still has to mull it over.
Dating back to the 10th Century, Smithfield meat market has been located in the City of London for over 800 years, making it one of the oldest markets in London. There was some resistance to the move from the Smithfield meat traders, they've now accepted the deal to move to Dagenham. Although it feels like London is losing a bit of history it’s not all bad, as the move is expected to bring 2,700 new jobs to Barking and Dagenham and support 7,850 jobs across the UK – an expected increase of 17 percent on the jobs supported by Billingsgate and Smithfield currently.
The City of London says it plans to invest almost £1 billion into Barking and Dagenham and turn 42 acres of industrial land into a wholesale food market. There are plans to transform historic site at Smithfield Market into a cultural hub next to the relocated London Museum, and Billingsgate’s old site at Canary Wharf could be turned into over 2,000 new homes.
The new market at Dagenham Dock it expected to open between 2027-2028.