Meat, Murder, Malfeasance, Medicine and Martyrdom: Smithfield Stories

Graham Holderness

Research output: Book/ReportBook


These stories all occupy the physical, cultural and psychological territory of London’s Smithfield. In an extraordinary area, measuring little more than a square mile, bounded by Farringdon Street, Charterhouse Street, Aldersgate and Ludgate, we can find in microcosm some of the key contours of British national life. The site of a famous livestock and dead meat market, public executions, the Old Bailey and Newgate prison, the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, Bart’s Hospital and the Royal College of Physicians, Smithfield has throughout history connected meat with murder, malfeasance, medicine and martyrdom. The following ten stories are rooted in the ground of Smithfield, revolve around the institutions it houses, and dwell on the overlapping activities that have characterised it for centuries. They range across historical fiction, fantasy and documentary realism; explore the commonalities of violence exhibited in the slaughtering of beasts, the torture and execution of criminals, the violations of the body practised on the autopsy table and in the research laboratory, the atrocities of murder and cannibalism; and throw their dark light both on British national history, and the human condition.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdward Everett Root
Number of pages250
ISBN (Electronic)9781911454304
ISBN (Print)9781913087081
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019


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