As I mentioned in passing on my post on Smithfield Market the area hasn’t just got a millennia long relationship with animal markets and executions. It was also a place where men in Victorian times would bring their unwanted wives to swap them with other men, divorce being both monetarily expensive and a social faux-pas.
Around the same time, the area was falling into a state of filthy dilapidation and the square at West Smithfield was remodelled to include a small public garden. The centrepiece of the garden was and still is this beautiful statue of Peace.
Mr Philip was a devout Christian and didn’t want anyone to question the morals of the lady he sculptured and so he fitted a gold wedding ring to her finger and made the statue in such a way it can’t be removed. It’s hard to imagine some people even caring about their reputation in person these days, let alone of the reputation of a figure of a lady who is simply a statue.
It’s actually almost impossible to see in person and in the photo above it is impossible to see. I suppose it had to be made almost inaccessible to avoid it being taken, even by those few who know it is there in the first place.
I’ve been here many times and I took these photos early on Thursday morning enjoying the peace and beauty as the meat traders cleaned up from their night shift just a minute away; much as I imagine people have done here for the last 150 years.