Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival

Posted in anniversaries, lectures (to attend) by Editor on March 28, 2013

Thanks to Emma Barker for noting this upcoming festival with events taking place across London:

Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival
London, 8-21 April 2013


Christ Church, Spitalfields, London

2013 is the year of two significant anniversaries in the intertwined history of the Spitalfields district in London and the silk weaving industry created by Huguenots (French Protestant refugees who fled Catholic France from the 16th century). It is the 250th anniversary of the death of Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763), an outstanding English textile designer who played an important part in the story of the Spitalfields silk weavers. It is also the 415th anniversary of the signing of the Edict of Nantes, on 13th April 1598. This decree by Henry IV of France served as a guarantee to the Protestant Huguenots that their rights to worship would be respected. However, it was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685 with the result that large numbers of French protestants fled to England to escape persecution. Over twenty thousand settled in Spitalfields where there was already an established weaving community.

Come and spend the day in Spitalfield, take a walk and browse around the Market, call in at Christ Church Spitalfields, the finest Baroque church in the country; visit Dennis Severs’ House, drop into the Town House
for coffee and delicious cakes. There is so much to see
and do — you will not be disappointed.

Silk panel, 1748-1750 Spitalfields silk courtesy of the Museum of London

Silk panel, 1748-50 Spitalfields silk (The Museum of London)

Programme of Events

Supported by the Huguenot Society and the Spitalfields Trust

Between 8th and 21st April 2013, a series of activities to commemorate these two anniversaries will take place at different venues in Spitalfields. The celebratory programme will include

Daily Walks – The Immigrants’ Story, Historic Spitalfields, The Silk Weavers of Spitalfields

Talks by experts at the Bishopsgate Institute, Guildhall Library, V&A Museum, London Metropolitan Archives & The Natural History Museum


• Thanksgiving Service on Thursday 11th April at Christ Church, Spitalfields
• Extended opening hours for Dennis Severs’ House
• At Home With Anna Maria: a fundraising soirée on 16th April in Fournier Street with Clare Browne, curator of European textiles at the V&A and Dan Cruickshank
•  Tours of Sandys Row Synagogue and Bisopsgate Institute
• The Big Weave: Saturday 13th April, which is an arts & crafts fair in Spitalfields Market. Stitches in Time will be hosting weaving workshops

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