Tag Archives: London Metropolitan Cattle Market

Meet Joe…of the Caledonian Market

20 Nov

In a similar way that we have already seen how the historical Holloway Women Prison, built in 1852 as a mixed prison, featured prominently in the opening scene of Turn the Key Softly (1953) today’s post will take us to another historical Islington landmark, also opened in the mid-19th century: Caledonian Market

Opened by Prince Albert in June 1855, the London Metropolitan Cattle Market was established by the City of London in order to supplement Smithfield market. Smithfield will concentrate on meat whereas the new market on live cattle.

Cally - Metropolitan_Cattle_Market_Islington_1855

The Metropolitan Cattle Market

However, by the early 20th century trade in live cattle had declined and the Caledonian Market, became a bric-a-brac market until the breakout of World War 2. Ultimately, the conflict will mark the end of trading since, after the market moved to Bermondsey.

Why am I telling about all this? Because it is as a bric-a-brac market and shortly before WW2 that we get to spot The Cally, in a movie that offers us a brief snapshot of life at The Cally in the 1930s.

Friday the 13th (1933), a (local) Gainsborough production not as scary and bloody as the title may suggests, opens on a stormy London evening. Various individuals are on a double-decker bus when at midnight, lightening strikes a crane. In a desperate attempt to avoid the crane collapsing, the bus driver crashes into a wall. We then go back in time to see who were these people and why they were on that bus on that tragic night. Among them is ‘Joe of the Caledonian Market’, played by Max Miller.

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 03

We first meet Joe when he is getting ready to go to the market. In fact, he is even singing his love for The Cally while getting ready:

Of all the markets I love best, there’s none that beats The Cally…”

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 04

Then, later in the movie, we can see how traders wait for the Cally Clock Tower to strike 10 o’clock for the Market Gates to open and the mayhem that follows, presumably to take the best spots and get the best bargains. Images in many ways similar to those we see 80 years later on Boxing Day Sales.

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 05

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 06

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 07

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 08

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 09

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 10

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 11

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 12

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 13

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - MrX04

I truly recommend to watch Friday the 13th if you have the opportunity and you will most likely look at Caledonian Park and the Cally Tower differently from then on.

If you are interested, check out Islington Council’s website on a regular basis since they do organise regular Cally Clock Tower opening days!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Market Road

Caledonian Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian and Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Buses to Caledonian road and York Way

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at LightsCameraIslington(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

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