Sound-worlds of old Billingsgate

A contribution to the Marine Lives Thames soundscape project in the form of a new site section. Here, historical resources are compiled to address how the old Billingsgate fish market might have sounded, and how people in the past thought it sounded.

City of London, Whereas the fish-market at Billingsgate, 1670

Martis 17. die Januarii 1670. Annoque Regni Regis CAROLI Secundi, Angliae, &c. vicesimo secundo.

WHEREAS the Fish-Market at Billingsgate, by reason of the dismal Fire and other Accidents, hath for some late years been in much disorder, and yet continues without that due Regulation, which by antient Rules and Provisions it ought to be: Therefore for resto­ring the same to the former good order and condition, It was now considered and ordered by this Court, That the Fish-Market at Billingsgate shall be kept from the bottom of St. Mary-Hill to Billingsgate-stairs: And that no Fish be sold aboard any Vessel or Boat ex­cept Herrings, Sprats, Makrel, and Shell-fish, nor in any other place or Key, then in the said place at Billingsgate, and at Queenhithe, which are the antient places accustomed for that purpose.

And it is further Ordered, That the Bell at Bil­lingsgate shall be henceforth duly rung by the Yeoman at the Water-side, for beginning of the Market there (that is to say) from Lady day to Michaelmas at four of the Clock in the morning, and from Michaelmas to Lady day at six of the Clock in the morning. And if any shall presume to buy or sell any sorts of Fish at the said Markets before those hours respectively, and notice thereof given by ringing of the said Bell (excepting Makrel, Sprats. and Herrings) such Offender and Offenders shall be proceeded against as Forestallers of the Market, as by the Law in this case is directed and provided.

And it is further Ordered, That no Fish be hereafter landed at other then the com­mon and accustomed Keys and places above-mentioned. Of all which the Yeoman of the Water-side, and under-water Bayliff are to be careful, and vigilant to prevent the contrary, at their utmost perils.

Printed by Andrew Clark, Printer to the Honourable City of LONDON.

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