Family History Notebook

Fleet Market

Fleet Market, from Holborn Bridge c1827
Drawn by Tho. H. Shepherd. Engraved by S. Lacey.

"The Fleet River runs down from springs on Hamstead Heath to join the Thames at Blackfriars. As London grew, the river became increasingly a sewer. Following the Great Fire of London in 1666, Christopher Wren proposed widening the river; however, this was rejected. Rather, the Fleet was converted into the New Canal, completed in 1680. Newcastle Close and Old Seacoal Lane (now just short alleyways off Farringdon Street) recall the wharves that used to line this canal, especially used by the coastal coal trade from the North East of England. Unpopular and unused, the upper canal was culverted over from 1737, between Holborn to Ludgate Circus, to form the 'Fleet Market'. The lower part, the section from Ludgate Circus to the Thames covered by 1769 for the opening of the new Blackfriars Bridge and was therefore named 'New Bridge Street'. The development of the Regent's Canal and urban growth covered the river in King's Cross and Camden from 1812. " 1

"Farringdon Street, which runs from Bridge Street northward to the line of Holborn, is constructed over the celebrated Fleet Ditch. In this street stood Fleet Market."  "The Mansion House ... was erected on the site of the old Stocks Market. When that happened, about 1737, and Fleet Ditch was arched over, the business of the Stocks Market was transferred to the ground above the ditch, now called, as we have mentioned, Farringdon Street. Such was the origin of Fleet Market. It was opened for the sale of meat, fish, and vegetables on the 30th of September, 1737; but it did not complete a century of existence here.

In 1829 it was found necessary to widen the thoroughfare from Holborn to Blackfriars Bridge; so Fleet Market was removed from Farringdon Street, and Farringdon Market, in the immediate vicinity, but off the line of the street, was opened in its stead. " 2

Three generations of Daniel Butler were undertakers in Fleet Market, subsequently at 17 Farringdon Street, from at least 1774 to 1853.  This area developed as the centre of newspaper and general publishing.

Holborn and Fleet Market map       Fleet Market map Roque
John Rocque map published 1746 - survey commenced 1737. The full map of London can be viewed on-line at  (not the source of the above scanned extract).

Businesses in Fleet Market listed in the 1808 Post Office Annual Directory:-

  Fleet-market John Christie Fruit-salesman
  Fleet-market Richard Pierce Wool, Woollen-cloth, Blanket and Flannel ware-house
4 Newcastle Street, Fleet-market John Woods Nail Tinner, and Manufacturer of Chain, Hooks and Eyes, and Pins etc
17 Fleet-market Daniel Butler & Son Undertaker
29 Fleet-market Thomas Pilkington Hat-manufacturer
35 Fleet-market Edward Chandler Undertaker
46 Fleet-market T&D Brown Glass-manufact. & Potter
51 Fleet-market Ladyman & Doolan Horse-hair-manufact
59 Fleet-market Henry Trimmer Orange Merchant
62 Fleet-market Charles Chesterman Working Silversmith
66 Fleet-market Thomas Wilson Oil and Colourman
67 Fleet-market J. Shears & Son Coppersmiths and Braziers
71 Fleet-market M. Walker Upholsterer
82 Fleet-market C. Clarke Fruit-salesman
83 Fleet-market Gwillam & Barnard Auctioneers
86 Fleet-market Robert Riddell Grocer and Tea-Dealer
88 Fleet-market C. Southgate Floor-cloth-manufacturer
89 Fleet-market M Ducroq Wax and Tallow Chandler
91 Fleet-market Ann Roberts Floor-cloth-manufacture
92 Fleet-market Ephrain Burford Bookseller & Stationer
95 Fleet-market Barclay & Son Medecine-warehouse
97 Fleet-market Martin & Henry Cutler Corn Dealers
113 Fleet_market Thomas Croofe Linen-draper

Charles Edward Butler was an undertaker at 31, Farringdon Street in 1851


1   Extract from

2    'Farringdon Street, Holborn Viaduct and St. Andrew's church', Old and New London: Volume 2 (1878), pp. 496-513. URL: Date accessed: 15 January 2009.

3    "The notoriously dilapidated market had consisted of two rows of one-storey shops connected by a covered walkway"