The Leadenhall Market Victorian City Festival


Leadenhall’s Victorian City Festival is already in full swing, with a month-long series of events taking over the iconic market.

Organisers are marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Horace Jones – the famous architect of Tower Bridge, Guildhall and, of course, Leadenhall Market – with a whole host of Victorian-inspired musical performances and entertainment, craft workshops, storytelling sessions, and historical tours.

After work on Friday 31 May, workers of the Square Mile will watch on as the Acro-Chaps perform their acrobatic strongmen comedy routines.

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The Acro Chaps will throw some impressive shapes

The all too dashing David, Tony and Jamie will adorn their thick moustaches and tight Victorian circus outfits before dazzling crowds with their feats of magnificent strength, daring and balance. Grab a pint from one of the nearby pubs and enjoy a little free entertainment at the end of the week.

Then come the hands-on craft activities for kids and adults alike.

On 1 and 10 June, guests are invited to make a William Morris-inspired tote bag through screen printing. Morris was one of the most influential artists of the Victorian era and his style of print design is now considered to be iconic. The workshop is drop-in style and suitable for all ages. And, like all other activities, it’s totally free.

Ceramic brooch painting also takes place on 3 June, celebrating the traditional Victorian-era fashion item, while 15 June is all about lace stencilling.

This practical art form became popular during the Industrial Revolution and is seeing a small resurgence right now. Join this lace stencil session to explore the intricate patterns and beautiful designs contained within lace and make your own artwork using the supplied patterns.

Music lovers should also expect to catch performances by Here Come the Girls, the Black Tie Jazz Band, Born To Stroll Acoustic Trio, the Ze Trio (feature image), and the Roaming Bass and Piano.

You need only look online for the calendar of events to find the performance that best suits your taste.

And these singers and musicians are far more than just that; they are also skilled performers who will mix up their acts to fit the Victorian-era theme of events.

Elsewhere, visitors can take part in the Old Tom Treasure Hunt – searching for clues around the market to find the hidden ‘Old Tom’ geese. There is also a selfie seat on site for the duration – with props! – to help visitors get into the festival spirit. Special promotions from local retailers and venues will be available throughout the festival, with a heavy focus on the foodie offerings.

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Get into the Victorian circus themed selfie tent for extra fun

Seafood restaurant, Chamberlain’s of London, will be promoting its all new brunch menu on Saturdays; La Tasca is providing two hours of bottomless cava, beer and Bloody Marys to those who order a selection of their tapas; and Cheese at Leadenhall is hosting a series of wine and cheese pairing events throughout the celebrations.

And this is all running in conjunction with the City of London’s larger festival, Fantastic Feats: the Building of London. Exploring the Capital’s achievements across engineering, architecture and invention, the Victorian Festival forms but one part of this summer-long arts programme.

The Victorian Festival runs at Leadenhall Market until 16 June.