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D.C. 2010 © SMITHFIELD’S HISTORY Smithfield’s livestock market grew and grew over the passing centuries, until by the end of the18th Century, when the number of animals being brought into London was beginning to cause mayhem in the area, and this started to intrude upon the nearby streets and houses. With the arrival of the railway, came an important change to the transportation of livestock. Before then fresh meat could only be transported "on the hoof" which was laborious and uneconomical, as it was estimated that each cow lost about 20 lbs on a 100 mile walk. By 1849 almost 1,000,000 of the animals sold at Smithfield came to London by rail, so when plans for the new market buildings were drawn up, they included an underground area where meat could be unloaded from the trains. Work began in 1866, with the first stone being laid in 1867, and a year later in 1868 the whole project was completed. It was a vast cathedral-like structure of glass, ornamental cast iron, stone, Welsh slate. The structure was full of light and air, and consisted of two main buildings linked under a great roof, and separated by a central arcade known as Grand Avenue. Very soon after the original construction was finished, four more buildings were added. Of these four buildings, only the Poultry Market (which opened in 1875) is still in use today. By 1885, the first imports of frozen meat began arriving from Australia, New Zealand and South America. Smithfield had established itself as the foremost meat market which it still is to this day. The market was closed during WW2. and was used mainly for storage and space for an army butchers' school. Smithfield market did take on bomb damage to some of its buildings during this time, but the majority of the structure remained intact. On January 23rd,1958, just 14 years after Smithfield's' survival of WW2, a major fire erupted at the Union Cold Storage Company. The fire burned for days, claiming 2 lives as it spread through 2.5 acres of underground passages, and destroyed the original Poultry market building. At a cost of £2 million a new building was commissioned and by 1963 it was completed. Although the new building's exterior is quite unremarkable, the interior was  a feat of engineering, as in 1963 the buildings 225 feet domed roof was the largest clear spanning domed roof in Europe. By the 1990's the market undertook some modernization and was upgraded to meet the new EC regulations. This meant the construction of new sealed loading bays, an automated overhead meat rail system, and new stalls and chiller rooms. The underground railway sidings, which were no longer used, became a car park. D.P. MEATS OPENING TIMES ARE MONDAY TO FRIDAY 01:00AM TILL 10:00AM OUR OFFICES ARE OPEN MONDAY TO FRIDAY TILL 14:00PM For more information on our products and services, or to place an order, please call 020 7248 0285 where a member of staff will be happy to help.