This was one of the things I found amongst my mother's things. It was something my father wrote in respose to a request from a local journalist about memories of Islington. His memories would have been from the 1920s up until after the Second World War.
We lived in Kentish Town, virtually on the doorstep of Caledonian Cattle Market. It was a huge rectangular built area with cattle pens surrounding a centre white tall building. When the market was not in use for the cattle, half of the area was allowed for an open market where you could buy almost anything. Stalls displayed bric-a-brac, paintings, vases, old jewellery, metal goods, pottery, pots and pans, food, chickens, live and dead rabbits, live cats and dogs, furniture, carpets and clothes.
An excellent place for bargain hunters and sometimes very lucrative for collectors who wanted information about an article they were looking for. Lighting for the stalls was by Kerosene lamps. Two burners supplied by a centre bowl and air pressurised. As the years progressed glass bowls were introduced over the burners and gas mantels instead of naked jets but there was something warm and old fashioned about the naked lights when they were burning.
It must not be forgotten that the Caledonian was primarily a cattle market complete with pens on the outside, south side were the slaughter houses etc. I remember as a lad from 15-18 years old going to work every morning up York Way into the market square and being confronted by herds of charging bulls and cows and sheep being driven from Kings Cross Sidings to the market or slaughter shed and the nearer they approached the sheds the more frenzied they became and I used to flatten myself up against the railings to avoid being caught in the surge. I used to think that the animals could sense or smell the slaughterhouse.
At the eastern end (Pentonville Road) were a number of firms dealing with offal etc and it was quite a common sight to see tripe being prepared for distributors. As the years went by the flow of cattle became smaller and only the pen remained but the general market continued to well after World War 2.