The northern face of 20 Fenchurch Street—"the Walkie-Talkie"—looms over Leadenhall Market like a Martian war machine sprung from the imagination of HG Wells.
Leadenhall Market is at the heart of Roman London, being situated at what was the eastern end of the Roman civic centre, the Forum-Basilica. Its architecture is a rich feast of ornately painted late Victorian plaster and metalwork, with its main entrances built in Portland Stone. It was designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones, who was also the architect of Smithfield and Billingsgate Markets as well as the designer of Tower Bridge. Sir Horace's work replaced the tangled nest of market courts that had proliferated steadily since the Middle Ages.
While there is some trading of light food from open stalls, the reek of meat, poultry and fish has disappeared and the shop units are mostly occupied by upmarket retailers and a variety of eateries. There is still a very good cheesemonger though.
The Market is accessible from a number of directions and the entrance shown is on Whittington Avenue, which leads off Leadenhall Street itself. The original "Leadenhall" was a lead-roofed mansion belonging in the early 14th century to Sir Hugh Nevil.
We will return to the Market on occasions and we are not done with 20 Fenchurch Street.