Available to view from 17th October until 14th November, Old Tom’s Tale will be accompanied by a week of children’s workshops during half term (w/c 24th October) which are free to attend, with parents and children able to drop in (more details coming soon at ecbid.co.uk/oldtomstale).
During the 19th century, ‘Old Tom’ was a celebrated character in Leadenhall. He was a gander from Ostend who came to England by chance, due to his fascination with one of the female members of his flock. It is recorded that over two consecutive days 34,000 geese were slaughtered in the Market – but Old Tom managed to escape execution. He became a great favourite in the market, even being fed at the local inns. After his death in 1835 at the age of 38, he lay in state in the market and was buried on site. Today, visitors can toast the famous goose at Old Tom’s Bar, found beneath The Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market.
Working in partnership with The City of London Corporation, Old Tom’s Tale has been funded by EC BID – a business improvement district working to promote and enhance a unique part of the City of London known as the Eastern City.
For ghoulish fun in the run up to Halloween, families will also be able to visit the exclusive pop-up shop from the infamous Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, in residence from now until 11th November and see giant six metre tentacles creeping out of the upper floor Victorian windows of the cobbled market, ready to catch visitors unawares.
The covered market with its beautifully decorated ceilings is familiar to Potter film fans as the setting for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron’s entrance, so it is fitting that London’s (possibly the world’s) only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind – from vampires to werewolves – is setting up shop. (opening times Tues – Fri, 11am – 6pm). Ghoulish products on offer from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, for budding witches and wizards of all ages, include Tins of Fear such as Night Sweats and Escalating Panic, Salts Made from Tears of Humans (even those shed while homeschooling!) and Banshee Balls. And for those really wanting to up the gross factor, delightful items such as ‘Thickest Human Snot’, ‘Extracted Finger Nails’ and ‘Cubed Earwax’ await. All profits go to the Ministry of Stories, a creative writing charity for children.
Leadenhall’s history goes back nearly 2000 years. It was built on the site of the Roman Basilica and Forum, and during the medieval period was a market selling meat, fish and herbs, continuing well into the 17th century, as a place where wool merchants baled and weighed wool – the source of the City of London’s wealth. It is now home to 35 boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars and an award-winning pub, The Lamb Tavern.