Dezeen Magazine

Leadenhall Market has "survived plagues, great fires and two world wars"

One of the oldest marketplaces in London, Leadenhall Market, is the focus of this short film published in collaboration with Open House London.

The documentary, filmed by Jim Stephenson of Stephenson/BishopFilms, is one of a series of video tours spotlighting unusual places in the city as part of the festival's 2020 programme.

Leadenhall Market in London's financial district
The main entrance to Leadenhall Market in London's financial district

Leadenhall Market is a covered marketplace located in the centre of the City of London's financial district, close to Richard Rogers' Lloyds Building.

It was built in its current form in 1881 by Horace Jones, an architect who once served as surveyor to the City of London, and is home to a number of boutique retailers, bars, restaurants and cafes.

Leadenhall Market in London's financial district
A view inside of Leadenhall Market

In the video, London tour guide Mario Beneventi explains the history of the Leadenhall Market, which dates as far back as the 14th century when it was established as a place to sell fish, meat and herbs. It is also situated in what was once the centre of Roman London.

It underwent its first makeover in the 15th century when it was bought by Dick Whittington, a well-known London mayor of the late medieval period, who transformed it into a stone structure.

The current Leadenhall Market by Jones, which replaced Whittington's stone version, was Grade-II listed in 1972.

Leadenhall Market in London's financial district
The external red brick and Portland stone facade

Jones' design is distinguished by a cobbled floor and a wrought iron and glass structure to give an "airy and light feeling".

Externally, it is enclosed by walls of red brick and Portland stone, topped by an ornate, arched roof made from timber and glass.

"Leadenhall has endured from Roman times right through to the current 21st century," concluded Beneventi. "It survived plagues, great fires and the two world wars. It's evolved over the years, and it's still a place where people come to socialise, eat, drink, and meet."

As media partner for Open House London, Dezeen is publishing a different video every day during the festival. The films form part of the event's diverse programme for 2020, which has been curated in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Open House London takes place at venues across London and online from 19 to 27 September. Videos will be published on Dezeen each day during the festival. See Dezeen Events Guide for details of more architecture and design events.

Project credits:

Tour guide: Mario Beneventi
Producers: Nyima Murry and Ella McCarron
Videographer: Jim Stephenson of Stephenson/Bishop Films