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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 M&WA

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1670? - 1872

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.6 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Haymarket Committee of the Middlesex and Westminster Justices


Administrative/Biographical history:

Haymarket is the street which runs between Coventry Street and Pall Mall, the name first appearing in a rate book of 1657. It is reasonable to suppose that the close proximity of the Royal Mews was the reason why a market for hay and straw was set up here. During the reigns of Charles II and James II several Acts of Parliament were passed and various royal orders issued in an attempt to regulate the market. In 1697 an Act appointed a standing committee specifically for "paving and regulating the Haymarket", composed jointly of Middlesex and Westminster Justices. Occasionally this committee met in the Sessions House, Hicks Hall, but more frequently (and especially after the Hall was demolished in 1782) at the Prince of Orange Coffee House until 1791, when for the next 18 years it met at the Piazza, Covent Garden. In 1809 it moved its meeting place again, to the Saint Alban's Tavern, Saint Alban's Street, Pall Mall.

Until 1811 Justices were notified of meetings by a letter sent out a week in advance, and from 1776 also by a newspaper advertisement. The clerk of the Committee wrote the meetings' minutes and correspondence, and, acting as its treasurer, kept and submitted accounts and paid bills for work done for the Committee. Bills were however sometimes paid by order of the Chairman of the Committee or of the magistrates during their regular sessions.

The Committee was responsible for the maintenance of the market, so it regularly made an inspection or "view". Although it had its own surveyor, the County Surveyor could also be consulted. Routine maintenance was in the hands of a contractor who was paid a retainer, and whose accounts were periodically inspected by the Committee. Special contracts dealt with large repairs, such as those carried out in 1791 and 1796, and could be made with the 'retained' contractor or another. Apart from the wear and tear caused by the hay and straw carts most damage was probably done to the market paving by burst water pipes - these were the property of water companies whose repairs were both slovenly and delayed. In 1791 the entire market was repaved and reorganized to admit more carts; and a special sub-committee was appointed with responsibility for organization of the market, the enforcement of regulations and the preservation of the paving. The Constable of the Haymarket was given the additional task of inspecting the pavement.

The market was held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - until 2pm in the winter (Michaelmas to Lady Day), and until 3pm in the summer (Lady Day to Michaelmas). At that hour the selling stopped and a bell was rung, (also having been rung as a warning on the hour previously), and offenders were fined. An Act of George III regulated the size of bales and quality of straw, and obliged the Collector of Tolls to keep a register of sales. The Collector was appointed by the Committee but was not paid a regular salary, although the tolls were farmed out to him from which he made what profit he could. In 1776 they decided that the Collector's profits were too large and they were reduced. Toll accounts were to be kept and presented regularly to the Committee and each quarter's tolls were to be handed over to the Committee's or County's treasurer. In 1788 the Collector, Joseph Stocken, was dismissed for persistently failing to produce toll money or accounts (M&WA/HM/020, 040 - 048). The other official of the Haymarket was the Constable, who kept order in the market and was paid by the Committee. In 1830 the market was moved to Cumberland Market, east of Regent's Park.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Haymarket Committee of the Middlesex and Westminster Justices, [1670]-1872. The records in this collection were produced from both the committee which oversaw the administration of the Haymarket, and from the general courts of sessions held in Middlesex. They include minutes, reports, orders, contracts for repairs and financial records.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The material is arranged in two albums (M&WA/HM/001 - 395), not physically in chronological or archival order, although there is both a numerical and archivally ordered catalogue available.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Material deposited by the Middlesex County Council and Greater London Council, which inherited the records.


DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2009 to February 2010

Administration | Organisation and management
Building maintenance | Building operations | Construction engineering
Court of Quarter Sessions | Courts | Administration of justice
Justices of the Peace | Magistrates | Legal profession personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Quarter Sessions records | Documents | Information sources
Quarter sessions | Courts | Administration of justice
Street trading | Retail trade | Trade (practice)

Personal names

Corporate names
Haymarket Committee of the Middlesex and Westminster Justices

City of Westminster | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Haymarket | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Middlesex | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe