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Meat, Commerce and the City

The London Food Market, 1800–1855


Perspectives in Economic and Social History: 18

Robyn S Metcalfe

272pp: 234x156mm: 2012
HB 978 1 84893 290 6: £60/$99

eBook: £24 (incl. VAT)

'a fascinating read for anyone wanting to learn more about an important, hitherto neglected aspect of the growth and development of the Victorian metropolis.'

Urban History


  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author/Editor
  • Reviews

In 1800 Smithfield Market was the largest cattle market in the world. But new concerns over sanitation, as well as changing views about the purpose of public space, meant that the market became an issue of contention, culminating in the Smithfield Removal Act of 1851. Metcalfe examines the struggle between the market's supporters and detractors and argues that this demonstrates a major shift in the way the urban landscape came to be used.

Introduction
1 The Smithfield System in the Nineteenth Century: A Grand Complexus
2 The Smithfield System in the Nineteenth Century: The Consumers
3 The Smithfield Battle Begins
4 Smithfield's Urban Landscape: Space in Transition
5 'A Grateful Odor Runneth Round': Public Health and Smithfield
6 Necessarily Cruel? Beef, Brutes and Women in Smithfield
7 The Final Act: 1840–55
Epilogue
Robyn S Metcalfe, Boston University
  • 'a fascinating read for anyone wanting to learn more about an important, hitherto neglected aspect of the growth and development of the Victorian metropolis.'

    Urban History

  • 'a well-written, comprehensive and interesting account ... it constitutes the definitive work on the nineteenth-century Smithfield livestock market.'

    EH.net

  • ‘Meat, Commerce and the City is a highly readable social history of debates over the removal of the Smithfield cattle market from the centre of London, presenting a lively and accessible account of concerns about the place of both livestock and dead meat in the heart of the burgeoning metropolis. This book will contribute not only to the field of urban history but also to a growing interest in food studies.’

    Nadja Durbach, University of Utah

  • 'In this brilliantly-researched book, Metcalfe has finally written the definitive history of Smithfield. In her hands, the colourful, protracted battle to reform London’s giant cattle market becomes a lens through which to view early Victorian debates about modernization, diet and civilization. Meat, Commerce, and the City is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of London, food, animals or urban design.'

    Christopher Otter, The Ohio State University

  • 'a work that I imagine many historians of London have been waiting for... Metcalfe has performed a service in tracing, analysing, and listing a wide range of sources, many of them in the hard-to-find category.'

    Victorian Studies

ISBNs: 9781848932906 978-1-84893-290-6 ISBNs: 9781848932913 978-1-84893-291-3 ISBNs: 9781781442876 978-1-78144-287-6

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