Huguenots walking tours in Spitalfields take place on the first Tuesday of each month from May to October. We meet at Christ Church, Spitalfields at 2pm. The second Huguenots of Spitalfields walking tour this year takes place on Tuesday 6th June.

Donation £10 per head goes towards the Huguenots of Spitalfields educational fund. You can turn up on the day but to make a booking please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For further details please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Many of the Huguenots (French Protestants) who left France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 were weavers - over the years 25,000 settled in Spitalfields. They brought their skills (known as “the Mysteries of the Strangers”), new techniques,new ideas and the incomparable French style. The master weavers lived in large, elegant houses whilst the journeymen weavers lived in small houses north of Spitalfields and Bethnal Green. You will hear about the silk industry, famous pattern designers, fashions, the weaving process and much more. Notably we will pass Anna Maria Garthwaite’s house and the hear the compelling story of this remarkable woman who died over 250 years ago.

 huguenot logo

Ideas for Learning

Questions pupils answer by the end of the session:

  • Who were the Huguenots (what bound them as a people?)
  • What did they believe in?
  • Why did they leave France and where did they go?
  • Why did they come to Britain?
  • What was Britain and London like at that time?
  • What work did they do and how did people train / get employment?
  • Why were their houses designed as they were? Were they all the same?
  • How did they live (food, income, family, health, training and community)?
  • What was their legacy; fabrics and banking?

Schemes of Work and classroom activities

 

No. Theme Activities Links / Resources Curriculum
1 Family tree- Research a Huguenot family name.
  • Research- Find out more about this family by researching and reading about them
  • Make a family tree showing clearly how each person was related (group work). See how many family members can you find out about
  • Find out more about one member of the family and write about them- where they came from and settled, where they worked, what they wore. Also draw a picture of them.
  • Research what London was like at the time that this family came to Britain. Research information about how they lived, what they ate and what they wore.
  • A day in the life- Can you write a diary entry about how this person must have felt settling into a new place and how different it was for them. Show and tell your stories.
  • Share your work in an assembly, sharing with others what you have found out about the Huguenot family you researched.
  • THEMED HOMEWORK- Trace your ancestors and make a family tree to share with the rest of the class with help from your parents or carers.
Database of Huguenots/ watch an episode of BBC’s ‘Who do you think you are?’/ Research V&A Huguenot textile designs
Museum of London website
KS1 or Lower KS2 students:
English, PSHE, History, Art

Adapt sessions to suit

2 Working children
  • Research the lives and working conditions of the dyers, spinners, weavers and children who worked in the Silk Trade in Spitalfields. Describe their talents and also how they lived and worked in poverty and how it affected their health. Can you write a diary entry about a normal day as a child working in the Silk Trade.
  • The Homes of the Weavers
  • Read about and research the elegant Master Silk Weavers’ houses in Spitalfields.
  • Make a sketch of a room inside the elegant Silk Weaver’s house.
  • Weaving Class- Weave a small pattern that can be repeated to make up a mat.
  • Block Printing
  • Research the methods of block printing. Can you create your own simple design and block print it on fabric?
  • Poetry or poster- Write a poem on the plight of the Huguenots; weaving long hours, not knowing the language, earning little money and in a strange country. Or design a poster to make people aware of the plight of poor and young workers.
  • ADDITIONAL THEMED WORK- Look at Huguenot silk designs. Produce your own designs to colour and draw and use the block printing techniques to produce your own designs. Put on an exhibition of the whole classes designs.
Museum of London books and resources

KS2 students:
Literacy, PSHE, History, Art

Adapt sessions to suit

3  Politics / Global issues/ inequality
  • Fight for a living wage, then and now (here and in Bangladesh) and movement of trade between different countries i.e. China to Vietnam
  • Gap between consumers and producers (and middle men) – parallels to Huguenots and their customers
  • Study the transition of immigration and exodus in Spitalfields from the Huguenots to the present day- Protestants, Jews and Muslims. How has this transformed and changed the area?
  • Split into groups – each look at the buildings at a different period of time and display output alongside the other groups. Focus on legacy, architecture and impact. Develop / use a timeline of events and be able to click on “postcards” of events
  • Produce short films that provide coverage of the Huguenots landing in Dover in the style of a broadcaster describing the scene as a boat docks on the jetty. Describe the exhausted passengers, luggage, emotion and state of health.
Historical records and trade unions; modern day campaigns
BBC3 series taking teenagers to work in factories in Bangladesh
Fair trade material
Response to factory fire last year – pressure to increase minimum wage from industry
Texts, pictures, adaption of buildings and live/ work building and places of worship.
British Library
KS3/ 4:
Economics, D+T, business studies, PSHE, Geography

Adapt sessions to adapt

 4  Art / fashion
  • Research how has fashion changed over time and why; how this would affect a street scene (consider difference between dress of makers and customers).
  • Draw different costumes and explain rationale for differences.
  • What would you see today and why? Link between fashion and function.
  • Create a collage of fabrics from each period of time / community and arrange as one vast display in time order across a wall
  • Produce a series of sketches and drawing of a typical street scene during the time of the Huguenots and contrast this to today’s high street scene. Design this on your computer to show the contrast, colours and how the streets look.
  • Research weaving techniques and block printing techniques. Can you use these techniques to inform your new designs inspired by the Huguenot’s silk designs?
  • Produce new designs for fabric using the Huguenot designs as inspiration for high street wear or accessories.
V & A Museum
Research on the internet and books
KS3 and 4:
Art and can be used across D+T, textiles and product design

Can be for a whole term or a half-term

Credit: Tamsin Bradley

Judith Gilton to Her Brother:

“I make you an account of our going out of France as far as Carolina since you wish it. We have suffered through eight months exactions and quartering upon us by the soldiery, for the religion, with much evil. We took resolution then to go out of France by night, and leave the soldiers in bed, and leaving the house fully furnished. We got to Romans and hid ourselves ten days while search was made to find us, but the hostess, being reserved, disclosed nothing about us, when asked if any had seen us. From there we made our way to Lyons, from there to Dijon. Then my eldest brother wrote you a letter, and one from Langres. I do not know if you have received them. They informed you that we were going out of France. We passed to the home of Made de Choiseul, where we did nothing. She was dead, and her son-in-law master of everything. Besides he let us know very well that seeing that we wished to go out of France, that if we wanted to ask anything of him, he would denounce us. We pursued our way to Metz, in Lorraine. Then we embarked ourselves on the Moselle river to Treves. From there we made to Kochem, and to Coblents, from there to Cologne, where we quitted the Rhine to go by carriage, whence we made to Wesel, where we found a host who spoke French a little, who told us that there was but thirty leagues from there to Luneberg. We knew at the time that you were there in winter quarters, as we had received one of your letters fifteen days before going out of France, which informed us that you would there pass the winter. Our late mother and I at once besought our eldest brother to choose to go that way, or choose to let us stay on at Wesel while you might be able to come to see him, since it was in the depth of winter. But he would have none of this, having nothing but Carolina in his thoughts, for fear of losing any chance of getting there. This has caused me such grief, when I have thought of you, and to have lost so favourable a chance to see you at least one more time. How I have disliked to see a brother so want natural feeling, and how often I have reproached him for this. But he was our master, and we had to do all as he wished. After wards we passed into Holland to go to England. I do not remember very well in which year this was, in four, or in eighty-five. It was the year when King Charles of England died. We were three months at London awaiting a ship set for Carolina. Being embarked we were very badly off. The spotted fever appeared in our ship, of which many died. Of it our late mother died, being elderly. We were nine months before arriving in Carolina. We were at two ports; in Portugal; and at an island called Bermuda, belonging to the English, to repair our ship, because of a great storm, where we were badly used. Our ship’s captain, having committed certain rascalities, was thrown into prison, and the ship seized. We were obliged to go on to Carolina, and, as our money was used up after we payed our passage at London, it followed that our brother, Louis, and I, served eight months for twenty-four crowns required for our second passage. After being in Carolina we suffered all sorts of evils. Our eldest brother died, a year and a half after our arrival here, of a fever, not being fitted to the harsh work to which we were exposed. We have seen ourselves, since our departure from France, in every sort of affliction; in sickness, pestilence, famine, poverty, very hard work. I was in this country a full six months, without tasting bread, and whilst I worked the ground, like a slave. And also, I have passed three or four full years before having it when I wanted it. God surely gave us good grace to have been able to withstand all sorts of trials. I believe that if I wished to make you a full list of all our adventures, I should never have done. Suffice it, that God has pity for me, and has changed my lot to one more happy. Glory be unto him.

Endorsed:
Letter of my wife written to her brother.”

If you haven’t yet experienced the sound of the newly renovated superb Richard Bridges organ, built in 1735, at Christ Church Spitalfields, we have news of three concerts:

26th September, with international concert organist Margaret Phillips
24th October, with David Titterington, who is Head of Organist, Royal Academy of Music
28th November with Gerard Brooks, Curator Organist who will be launching the first double CD recording of this remarkable organ.  All concerts begin at 7.30pm and cost £10.  

The first organist who played Mr Bridge’s magnificent instrument was Huguenot Peter Prelleur, who led an extraordinary double life. He lived in Rose Lane and, as well as playing the organ at Christ Church and composing religious music, he often played in pubs including the Angel & Crown Tavern in Whitechapel. Prelleur’s major legacy is a guide for musicians entitled The Modern Musick-Master published in 1731 and described as “an introduction to singing, after so easy a method that persons of the meanest capacities may (in a short time) learn to sing (in tune) any song that is set to musick”. For three hundred years this was considered the most important singing manual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some wonderful articles written by the Gentle Author

In Search of the Boss of Bethnal Green, 9th October 2016

The Boss of Bethnal Green, 2nd October 2016

Delft Tiles in Fournier Street, 9th April 2016

The Spitalfields Weaver, 3rd January 2016

Frank Foster, Shirt Maker to the Stars - November 19th, 2015

At the unveiling of the Huguenot plaque - 28th September, 2015

Paul Bommer's Huguenot plaque - 15th September, 2015

The Huguenots of Rochester - 29th July, 2015

The Spitalfields Roman Woman - 28th July, 2015

Visit the Old Naval College at Greenwich, 15th July 2015

An Introduction to East End Garden History, 14th July 2015

Don't Do It Magazine, 4th July 2015

Inside Spitalfields' Oldest Building, 1st July 2015

David Garrick in the East End, 30th June 2015

Human Remains at Christ Church, 24th June 2015

The Huguenot Map of Spitalfields Unveiled, 23rd June 2015

The Huguenots of Soho, 12th June 2015

Susannah Dalbiac's Almanack 1776, 8th June 2015

At Dr Johnson's House, 3rd June 2015

At the Fan Museum, 31st May 2015

From the Warner Textile Archive, 30th June 2015

The Principal Operations of Weaving 1748, 19th May 2015

Last Call for Huguenots!, 16th May 2015

Huguenot Summer, 28th April 2015

The Whitechapel Mulberry - April 30, 2015

The Dalston Mulberry - April 27, 2015

The Haggerston Mulberry - April 25, 2015

Auriculas of Spitalfields, 9th April 2015

At Boughton House - April 5, 2015

Upon the subject of Horace Warner's Spitalfields Nippers, 7th December 2014

An Auricula for Thomas Fairchild, 5th October 2014

Calling all Huguenots!, 3rd July 2014

Lost 18th century houses in Spitalfields, 19th June 2014

At Goldsmiths Hall, 11th June 2014

A brief survey of East End Garden History, 29th March 2014

In Old Soho with Leslie Hardcastle, 7th June 2013

Brian Gurtler, Tea-Towel Printer, 11th May 2013

Jolyon Tibbitts, Upper Bailiff of the Worshipful Company of Weavers, 22nd April 2013

The Huguenots of Spitalfields, 14th April 2013

Dr Margaret Clegg, Keeper of Human Remains, 9th April 2013

At Anna Maria Garthwaite's House, 5th April 2013

Huguenot Portraits, 29th March 2013

At Chez Elles Bistroquet, 21st March 2013

Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Three), 14th March 2013

Soerditch by Dant, 1st March 2013

David Garrick at Goodman's Fields Theatre, 4th October 2012

The Auriculas of Spitalfields, 13th May 2012

Last Orders at The Birdcage, 8th February 2012

Di England Stitches in Time, 26th November 2011

Changes at Sandys Row Synagogue, 24th October 2011

Down among the Meths Men, 24th September 2011

Remembering Jean Rondeau the Huguenot, 7th September 2011

Columbia Road Market 69, 27th February 2011

Stanley Rondeau, Huguenot, 13th August 2010

Ricardo Cinalli, artist, 16th June 2010

Dickens in Spitalfields 3, in the streets, 9th February 2010

Dickens in Spitalfields, 26th January 2010