Ward of Billingsgate
City of London, Ward of Billingsgate.svg
Location within the City
Ward of Billingsgate is located in Greater London
Ward of Billingsgate
Ward of Billingsgate
Ward of Billingsgate shown within Greater London
OS grid referenceTQ332806
Sui generis
Administrative areaGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtEC3
Dialling code020
PoliceCity of London
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°30′34″N 0°05′01″W / 51°30′34″N 0°05′01″W / 51.5095; -0.0837
Billingsgate and Bridge Wards in 1720.

Billingsgate is one of the 25 Wards of the City of London. Its name derives from being the City's original water gate, and this small City Ward is situated on the north bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge in the south-east of the Square Mile.

The modern Ward extends south to the Thames, west to Lovat Lane and Rood Lane, north to Fenchurch Street and Dunster Court, and east to Mark Lane and St Dunstan's Hill.


Billingsgate's most ancient historical reference is as a water gate to the city of Trinovantum (the name given to London in medieval British legend), as mentioned in the Historia Regum Britanniae (Eng: History of the Kings of Britain) written c. 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth. This work describes how Belinus, a legendary king of Britain said to have held the throne from about 390 BC, erected London's first fortified water gate:

In the town of Trinovantum Belinus caused to be constructed a gateway of extraordinary workmanship, which in his time the citizens called Billingsgate, from his own name. ... Finally, when his last day dawned and carried him away from this life, his body was cremated and the ash enclosed in a golden urn. This urn the citizens placed with extraordinary skill on the very top of the tower in Trinovantum which I have described.[1]

Originally known as Blynesgate and Byllynsgate,[2] its name apparently derives from its origins as a water gate on the Thames, where goods were landed, becoming Billingsgate Wharf, part of London's docks close to Lower Thames Street.

Historian John Stow records that Billingsgate Market was a general market for corn, coal, iron, wine, salt, pottery, fish and miscellaneous goods until the 16th century, when neighbouring streets became a specialist fish market.[3] By the late 16th century, most merchant vessels had become too large to pass under London Bridge, and so Billingsgate, with its deeply recessed harbour, replaced Queenhithe as the most important landing place in the City.

Until boundary changes in 2003, the Ward included Pudding Lane,[4] where in 1666 the Great Fire of London started.[5] A sign was erected over the property where the Great Fire began:

Here, by the permission of Heaven, hell broke loose upon this protestant city, from the malicious hearts of barbarous Papists, by the hand of their agent Hubert, who confessed, and on the ruins of this place declared the fact, for which he was hanged, viz. That here began the dreadful fire, which is described and perpetuated on and by the neighbouring pillar, erected Anno 1680, in the mayoralty of Sir Patience Ward, knight.[5]

After the Great Fire of London, shops and stalls set up trade forming arcades on the harbour's west side, whilst on the main quay, an open market soon developed, called "Roomland".

Other Languages
Gaeilge: Billingsgate
Nederlands: Billingsgate