Billingsgate and Smithfield, two of London’s oldest markets, for fish and meat respectively, are leaving the city centre and moving further east to a 42-acre site in Dagenham after the City of London Corporation approved the plans. The moving of the markets to combine them all into one mega wholesale market in Dagenham was announced in 2019 and also included the relocation of fruit, veg and flower market New Spitalfields, but that will be staying in its Leyton home for now.
Billingsgate has been operating from its Docklands location since the early 80s after it relocated from a Victorian building in the City, and Smithfield has been running as a market in Farringdon for over 800 years, making it one of the oldest in London, There has been vocal opposition from meat market traders in the past about the relocation of Smithfield, but the deal has now been accepted.
Though this part of London will be losing a real bit of history with the move, it will create 2700 new jobs in Barking & Dagenham and support thousands more across the UK, when the new market opens in 2027-2028. The Smithfield site will become home to the new Museum of London, which is moving from the Barbican, whereas the Billingsgate location could be turned into around 2000 new homes.