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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
- Congratulations to yesterday’s Alpe d'Quiz winner Darren Edwards who receives a Rapha Backpack. Today's prize draw → http://t.co/h4frOXDYma
- @vickiewoodsford @tobytoof @daithetooth @WhittleFit Thanks Vickie, very kind of you to say.
- @daithetooth Thank you Dai.
- @rich_mitch @RaphaCycleClub You're welcome.
- @rich_mitch Hey Rich, you're probably best to head to our @RaphaCycleClub in London to try them on with advice some our knowledgable staff.
- RT @rapha_australia: The first #alpedquiz question has been asked. "FAUSTO COPPI WAS THE FIRST MAN TO DO WHAT?" Answer at http://t.co/EnOFN…
- RT @rapha_n_america: Up Close: The Rapha x Raeburn Fall-Winter Collection via @selectism :: http://t.co/O27Eo9pQGK
- What do you get the cyclist who has everything? Here's what we recommend for the dandy in your life. → http://t.co/ciPREr3fnP
- RT @racefietsblog: Leuk, de Alpe d' Quiz van @RaphaRacing is begonnen! 3 weken elke dag een andere prijs http://t.co/QiWhfY8hXy @rapha_euro…
- The @rapharacing #festive500 is back. Once again we challenge riders worldwide to clock 500km between 24-31 Dec. → http://t.co/HmgDlUJTiI