Sunday 14 April 2013

At the Huguenot Festival

When the Huguenots - French protestants - fled persecution and moved to London, many of them brought skills as silkweavers. They settled in Spitalfields, away from the City and its guilds, and left lasting marks including the area's distinctive silkweavers' houses. Although mainly Calvinist, they even had some responsibility for Christ Church - built not by them but to remind them of the primacy of the Established Church. All of this history is being celebrated by the Huguenot Festival, now underway and running until 21 April.

Yesterday, the Big Weave event at Spitalfields Market celebrated the Huguenots' association with the weaving industry. It included demonstrations of all sorts of weaving, and a textile version of the famous Roque Map of London - the detail below is of the Spitalfields area. 

Forthcoming events include daily walking tours, talks, visits, and an exhibition at the Bank of England Museum. (Its first director was a Huguenot.) Full details, along with lots of suggestions for places to visit, are on the Huguenot Festival website

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