Billingsgate, on the Middlesex bank of the Thames, just east of London Bridge, is the most famous fish market in the country. It dates from the end of the seventeenth century, but the present building was only completed in 1877. The business of the Market - which should be visited at five o'clock in the morning by those who do not object to "the ancient and fish-like smell" - is carried on in the great hail in the wings, each surmounted by a weathercock in the shape of a gilt fish, are taverns. Our view shows the river fašade, and the landing stage at low-water; but no inconsiderable proportion of the hundreds of tons of fish disposed of here weekly is now brought to Billingsgate by land. The Fishmongers' Company employs officials known as "meters " to seize fish which is unfit for food.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896