A Victorian Marketplace with Roman roots, the stunning Leadenhall Market has hosted many a famous face over the years: Harry Potter, Terry Gilliam, Lara Croft and... Tom the Goose.
'The Wand Chooses The Wizard, Mr Potter'
The current market building- an iconic Victorian structure with wide, lamp-lit passages- has become a frequent fixture in Hollywood films.
In the Harry Potter franchise, Leadenhall Market serves as a passageway between muggle London and Diagon Alley: the markeplace of the witches and wizards.
If you take a trip down 'Bull's Head Passage', you might find yourself looking at a familiar blue door. This was the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub, where Harry Potter first met the villainous Professor Quirrell, shortly before receiving his wand.
Love To Hate You
Harry Potter isn't the only time Leadenhall Market has lit up the big screen, however. Its stunning arched corridors have also played a starring role in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Matt Damon's Hereafter.
And the market's celebrity doesn't end there. More than just a film location, it was also used for the music video of the Erasure hit, I Love To Hate You.
And, most important of the lot, it was the home of one of London's most illustrious escape artists: Old Tom the Goose.
A Wild Leadenhall Market Goose Hunt
Leadenhall Market has been a poulty market since the early 1300s. Over the years, there have been 1,000s of birds slaughtered there. One, however, was crafty enough to avoid this grim fate.
In the 1800s, a heroic goose decided to take a stand. He escaped his confines and made a dash for freedom. Despite the best efforts of his would-be-butchers, he then managed to evade capture for long enough for the heat to die down.
The butchers decided to cut their losses and the legend of Old Tom the Goose was born.
The tale made its way around the market. Tom was celebrated as a goose amongst goslings. The market employees began to leave him scraps of food.
Old Tom went on to live to the ripe old age of 37. After his death, in 1835, he was given an obituary in the Times Newspaper, and a proper burial inside the market.
Today, his burial spot is marked by the fittingly named 'Old Tom's Bar'. Here, visitors can raise a glass in his honour and tuck into a traditional English meal (of hopefully anything but goose!)
Thus a decoy he lived and died, The chief of geese, the poulterer’s pride.
The Ancient Origins of Leadenhall Market
Prior to Old Tom's Victorian market, prior even to the 14th Century building that came before it, there was a Roman market on this very same site.
During Roman times, Leadenhall would have served as an integral part of 'Londinium' (the Roman name for London). Archeological evidence suggests that a settlement was established here in approximately 70AD. This would have featured a basilica, a forum, a civic administration centre and a market.
Unfortunately, these buildings were destroyed in 300AD, to punish the citizens of Londinium for supporting an anti-Roman uprising. The foundations of the Roman basilica can still be seen today, however, in the basement of the Nicholson and Griffin Barbershop in the market's Central Avenue.
One More Thing...
As well as being a place of interest of film and history buffs alike, Leadenhall Market is also, well... a pretty good market. Between the hours of 10am-6pm, it remains a great place to buy such things as meat, cheese and flowers.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Treasure Hunts in London - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of London.