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Lord Mayor fishes out for Billingsgate rent

PUBLISHED: 17:20 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 October 2010

Lord Mayor of London hands over the rent to Tower Hamlets mayor

Lord Mayor of London hands over the rent to Tower Hamlets mayor

THE LORD Mayor of London visited Billingsgate Market to pay the annual traditional rent of one salmon to Tower Hamlets Mayor. Lord Mayor David Lewis paid the symbolic rent of one salmon for the 30 acre Billingsate Fish Market which is run by the City of

THE LORD Mayor of London visited Billingsgate Market to pay the annual traditional rent of one salmon to Tower Hamlets Mayor.

Lord Mayor David Lewis paid the symbolic rent of one salmon for the 30 acre Billingsate Fish Market which is run by the City of London.

He handed over the Scottish salmon to Tower Hamlets Mayor Muhammad Abdullah Salique.

Although nominal rents or 'peppercorn rents' date back centuries this agreement is relatively modern.

The deal of the nominal was agreed in 1982 when the market moved to Tower Hamlets from its former home in the city and was designed to encourage the development of the market and preserve jobs.

The payment is traditionally passed on to a good cause in Tower Hamlets, usually sheltered housing or a group working with the elderly.

This year the salmon and a crate of other fish has been donated to the Griffin Community Trust which was set up by students from the Royal London hospital and combines flats for medical and dental students and for the elderly.

As part of their contract students are matched up to older residents and the pairs spend an hour together each week.

Lord Mayor Lewis said: "The fish rent is a charming ritual but the reality is that Billingsgate is a modern market right at the heart of London's good food network. It offers the best fish at very good prices from around Britain and the world."

He added: "Fish is a really healthy way to enjoy good food and Billingsgate is wonderful because it's open not just to traders, but also to the general public - with Saturday a favourite day for people planning parties and barbecues."

The market has 54 traders and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5am-8.30am.

One trader John Stockwell Ltd (Shellfish) also operates on Sundays.

The market is also home to a seafood cookery school.

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