London's Metropolitan Cattle Market opened in 1855. A huge market for trading in live cattle and other animals destined for slaughter, it occupied a large expanse of land west of Caledonian Road in what is now the Borough of Islington. The market pens and warehouses were built around a large clock tower, which remains to this day.

The markets closed in 1963, and the area was rebuilt by the GLC. The Market Estate was a high-rise tower block complex completed in 1967.

The decaying buildings were scheduled to be demolished in March 2010.

In the brief period between the last residents moving out and the wreckers moving in, a group of about 75 artists were allowed to transform the buildings and flats into site-specific art installations.

The Market Estate was open to the public for one cold but bright day: 6 March, 2010.