Billingsgate Fish Market

Where Money smells like fish………….and Fish Smells like Money

The Billingsgate Fish Market is located in Canary Wharf in London. It is the United Kingdom's largest inland fish market. It takes its name from Billingsgate, a ward in the southeast corner of the City of London, where the riverside market was originally established. In its original location in the 19th century, Billingsgate was the largest fish market in the world.

Rob Billimore

My first visit to Billingsgate was in 1995 when I travelled to London to see the world and landed a job as a Seafood Trader, based in Chelsea. My bosses sent me to the market to go seek out opportunity and to meet the vendors. Having grown up fishing in Cape Town, I already had a great understanding of the various species of fish, and their origins from around the world. I was blown away by the hustle, porters dashing around moving consignments for sellers and buyers from all ends of the market. There was lots of shouting, and I found the cockney use of the Queens English to be very entertaining…… I felt quite at home. Having grown up fishing in Cape Town and being well versed with the auction process while offloading our catches in Kalk Bay, or Yzerfontein for that day, which was always a very colourful experience.

Every visit to the Billingsgate Market was a successful one for me, as I slowly got to know the traders, and they got to know me. I was able to conclude many deals where I would import containers of fish on their behalf from all over the world. I did trevally from New Zealand, croaker from Argentina, squid and silverfish from South Africa, redfish from Iceland, baby octopus and red mullet from Thailand, and built up some good friendships with my customers during that time. After about 3 years I returned to South Africa to further my career as a Seafood Trader, a career that has spanned 25 years now and allowed me to travel to many fantastic destinations around the world, gaining more knowledge on seafood, and making many strong friendships along the way.

If ever you find yourself in London, be sure to visit the Billingsgate market, experience some of this Seafood porn for yourself!

Rob Billimore

Fast forward to 2021, and I once more find myself living in the UK, and continuing my career path as a Seafood Trader. It was only apt for me to head back to Billingsgate Market, where I cut my teeth as a junior Seafood Trader………..to again seek out opportunity. Upon arrival, I was amazed that everything looked the same. Most of the same vendors were still in business, with a few new ones added over the years. The hustle was the same, and the colour and variety of beautiful seafood from around the world pulled my attention in all directions, this to me is seafood porn at its best. Species including squid, prawns, tuna, salmon, crabs, lobsters, mackerel, sprats and yellowtail, to name just a few. That beautiful aroma of fresh fish in the air, and every trader trying to convince you that their produce was the best deal. Customers in the market include top chefs and caterers, fish shops and cafe owners, smaller market vendors from in and around London, and not to mention the housewives (mostly European and African), that walk around smelling and touching everything before they commit to a purchase. Laughter, jokes and serious negotiations fill the air together, all creating that hum of energy that is the Billingsgate Market. Such a colourful and magical experience for a seafood lover.

If ever you find yourself in London, be sure to visit the Billingsgate market, experience some of this Seafood porn for yourself!

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