Victorian London - Markets - Clare Market

CLARE MARKET, LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, between Lincoln's-Inn-fields and the Strand. And so called after William Holles, created BAron Houghton, of Houghton, in the county of Nottingham, 1616, and Earl of Clare, 1624. He was living in the parish of St. Clement's Danes, as early as 1617.
... The Duke of Newcastle built a chapel "at the corner of Lincoln's-Inn-fields, near Clare-market," for the use of the butchers. Hither, in February 1729, came, it is said, from Newport-market, John Henley, Orator Henry (d.1756), and erected his "gilt tub," commemorated by Pope.
... Henley preached on the Sundays, theological matters, and on the Wednesdays upon all other sciences. Over the altar was this extraordinary inscription- "The Primitive Eucharist." The Bull-Head Tavern, in Clare Market, was a favourite resort of the famous Dr. Radcliffe. Tony Aston tells us that Mrs. Bracegirdle, the actress, was in the habit "of going often into Clare-market and giving money to the poor unemployed basket-women, insomuch that she could not pass that neighbourhood without the thankful acclamations of people of all degrees." There are about 26 butchers in and about Clare Market, who slaughter from 350 to 400 sheep weekly in the market, stalls and cellars. There is one place only in which bullocks are slaughtered. The number killed is from 50 to 60 weekly, but considerably more in winter, amounting occasionally to 200. The number of calves is very uncertain. Near the market is a tripe-house, in which they boil and clean the tripes, feet, heads, &c. In a yard distinct from the more public portion of the market, is the place the Jews slaughter their cattle, according to a ceremony prescribed by the laws of their religion; here greater attention is paid to cleanliness.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

Clare Market, in the parish of St. Clement's Danes, approximate to the south-west corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields, is for the sale principally of butchers' meat, also for the sale of vegetables, tripe, dogs and cats' meat. Clare Market, although smaller than others, is not less a nuisance. There are about twenty-six butchers in and about it, who slaughter from 350 to 400 sheep weekly in the market, or in the stalls behind, and in cellars. There is one place only in which bullocks are slaughtered. The number killed la from fifty to sixty weekly, but considerably more in winter, amounting occasionally to 200. The number of calves is uncertain.

London Exhibited in 1852, 1852

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Clare Market lies hidden behind the western side of Lincoln's-inn, and can be reached either by the turning up from the Strand next to the new law courts, or through the archway in the western side of Lincoln's-inn. It is a market without a market-house; a collection of lanes, where every shop is tenanted by a butcher or greengrocer, and where the roadways are choked with costermongers' carts. To see Clare Market at its best, it is needful to go there on Saturday evening: then the narrow lanes are crowded, then the butchers' shops are ablaze with gas-lights flaring in the air, and the shouting of the salesman and costermonger is at its loudest. Nowhere in London is a poorer population to be found than that which is contained in the quadrangle formed by the Strand, Catherine- street, Long-acre, and Lincoln's-inn and the new law courts. The greater portion of those who are pushing through the crowd to make their purchases for to-morrow's dinner are women, and of them many have children in their arm. Ill-dressed, worn, untidy, and wretched, many of them look, but they joke with their acquaintances, and are keen hands at bargaining. Follow one, and look at the meat stall before which she steps. The shop is filled with strange pieces of coarse, dark-coloured, and unwholesome-looking meat. There is scarce a piece there whose form you recognise as familiar; no legs of mutton, no sirloins of beef, no chops or steaks, or ribs or shoulders. It is meat, and you take it on faith that it is meat of the ox or sheep; but beyond that you can say nothing. The slice of bacon on the next stall is more tempting, and many prefer a rasher of this for their Sunday's dinner to the coarse meat which neither their skill in cooking nor their appliances enable them to render tender and eatable, or satisfactory to the good man who is at present drinking himself to a point of stupidity at the public-house at the corner, and spending an amount which would make all the difference in cost between the odds and ends of coarse meat and a wholesome joint. It is a relief to turn from the butchers' shops to the costermongers' barrows. Here herrings or mackerel, as the season may be— bought, perhaps, -a few hours before at Billingsgate —are selling at marvellously low prices, while the vegetables, equally cheap, look fresh and excellent in quality.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

CLARE MARKET, or what little is left of it, lies at the western side of Lincoln's Inn, on ground once occupied by the Monastery of St. Clare. The new thoroughfare (Kingsway) from Holborn to the Strand has practically cleared it away.

Charles Dickens Jr. et al, Dickens Dictionary of London, c.1908 edition
(no date; based on internal evidence)