Leadenhall Market: It Dates Back To The 14th Century

Leadenhall Market, which is a Victorian market, is one of the oldest markets in London, selling meat and fish as far back as the 14th century. The current green and red roof, however, was constructed in 1881 and made Leadenhall Market a popular attraction in London.

Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London

Leadenhall Market

The marketplace was featured a few times in the Harry Potter series—it was the film location for some of the original exterior shots of Diagon Alley, the cobblestoned shopping hub of the wizarding world where Hogwarts students can stock up on school supplies like spellbooks and wands.

Leadenhall Market was in two different Harry Potter films

Diego Delso

Today if you wander down the market’s Bull’s Head Passage you may recognize the blue door of an optics shop (an empty storefront at the time of shooting) as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Goblet of Fire. In the films, the magical Diagon Alley is accessible to wizards and witches from London through the Leaky Cauldron, an unassuming pub wedged next to a record store. If only that were true for us Muggles.

Leadenhall Market
Tony Hisgett

What Leadenhall Market looks like today is actually a stark contrast from what it looked like before its redesign during the Victorian ages

Leadenhall Market’s Victorian design may be famous all around the world, but what Leadenhall Market looks like today is actually a stark contrast from what it looked like before its redesign during the Victorian ages. Originally, the market building was a lead-roofed manor house (hence its name), which was once located within London’s Lime Street Ward. Nobody knows the exact date the manor was built, but it is known that by 1309, the owner of the manor (Sir Hugh Neville) opened up the grounds to be used as a marketplace for locals.

Leadenhall Market

Original Leadenhall Market building was sadly demolished in 1881 before being redesigned yet again by Sir Horace Jones, an English architect who also designed the Smithfield Market, the Billingsgate Fish Market and even the Tower Bridge; (although the bridge wasn’t completed until eight years after his death).

Horace was responsible for designing Leadenhall’s iconic wrought iron and glass roof details, and the project cost a whopping £99,000 to build, with its additional entrances costing another £148,000. It’s thanks to Jones’ redesign that helped Leadenhall Market earn its Grade II heritage-listed status in 1972, and ultimately making it one of the most recognizable architectural structures in London today.

Leadenhall Market