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London is famous for many iconic sites and one of its most enduring is Smithfield Market. A butcher’s paradise housed within a Victorian structure of iron, stone and glass, it has been a market destination for approximately one thousand years. It is also the venue for the London Nocturne, a twilight kermesse in the heart of the city first held by Rapha and Condor in 2007.
As far back as the eleventh century ‘smothe field’, in spitting distance of the city walls, was a place to buy and sell sheep and cattle and was also known for drunken violence. Ruffians’ Hall as it was affectionately called became a royally chartered cattle market in 1638. Livestock was driven in from outlying areas through the narrow lanes of Clerkenwell, causing havoc and knocking over drunks and prostitutes.
By the 19th century cattle was being sold by the millions and in 1868 Smithfield officially became the Central Meat Market of London. But this Dickensian maze of slaughtered animals is now a much safer, cleaner and well-mannered destination, but still catering for those who want to eat, drink and be merry.
That image of chaotic herds running through the streets is strangely echoed by the velocity and power of nocturnal circuit racing. For anyone who has yet to witness this breathtaking (for both spectator and participant) event, it doesn’t get much more dramatic and exciting than being inches away from a speeding pack of racers in the centre of the city.
And furthermore to Smithfield’s story, the site used to be the venue for many public spectacles including jousting tournaments, wrestling contests, freak shows and the gallows… The ‘Bartholomew Fair’ turned into a fortnight festival in the 16th and 17th century with tents for dancing, eating roast pork and, of course, drinking. It’s most appropriate then that the Smithfield Nocturne is continuing the area's legacy of sport, entertainment and frivolity.
The IG Markets Smithfield Nocturne - Saturday June 9th:
First race at 16.30 hrs
Elite Criterium at 21.00 hrs
- @antmccrossan Thanks Anthony.
- @brettrothmeyer nice cap drawing by the way!
- @Jack_Sadler @raphacondor We’re honoured to have you riding for us Jack.
- RT @dean0downing: I had 6 great seasons with the @raphacondor team, thanks to all at @rapharacing for the support through out. http://t.co/…
- @dean0downing @raphacondor Thank you Dean, it’s been an incredible journey.
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- The #oneoftheseplease wk 3 includes some outdoor products from the likes of @polerstuff - Kletterwerks - and Filson: http://t.co/SG3aSEcjxN