London’s Hidden Cow Railway
I was talking to a lovely lady called Maggie recently at a party, and she told me about the catacombs beneath Charterhouse Street by the Smithfield Meat Market. The access premises was once called The Slaughterhouse Gallery. The longest cavern beneath it was bricked up to block the entry to a disused underground traintrack which brought living cattle to the slaughterhouse.
The cattle were killed and prepared for market and then hoisted up to the weighbridge positioned just above the slaughterhouse. They were weighed and then taken to the market opposite. Maggie took over the weighbridge office in 1983, and the basement caverns in 1986, and has lots of old photos. The underground cavern is still the same as when it was the Gallery. The site is now owned by Club Gascon.
Incidentally, Smithfield now seems to have been saved from the developers, which is good news given the site’s historical importance for London.