Huguenots of Spitalfields

June 2017 Newsletter - Issue 14

Three special initiatives are underway; Huguenot Towns: day visits to the towns where Huguenots settled (Faversham, Sudbury, Norwich and Canterbury), Journeymen Weavers' Houses: a campaign giving insight into the way the journeymen weavers lived and Huguenot Threads: educational programmes for undergraduate and post graduate fashion students.


Huguenot Towns


Travel with us from London or meet us there.

Faversham: Saturday 3rd June

Meet at St Pancras station at 9.15am or at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, Faversham, at 10.30am.

If you have never been to Faversham, one of England’s historic towns, do join us and you won’t be disappointed! There are over 500 listed buildings as well as the Chart Gunpowder Mills – the oldest of its kind in the world.

Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, Faversham

Norwich: Saturday 17th June

Meet at Liverpool Street Station at 9.15am or St Augustine’s Church, St Augustine’s Street, Norwich at 11.45am.

We will follow a textile trail of some of the earliest Huguenots who settled here, see the weavers’ houses and a jacquard loom and textiles at Bridewell Museum.

Weaver’s house in Norwich. Credit - George Plunkett Collection.

Sudbury: Monday 17th July

Meet at Liverpool Street Station at 9.45am or at Painters Cafe in Gainsborough Street (opposite Gainsborough’s House) at 11:30am

Historian David Burdett will reveal the story of the weavers in Sudbury, many of whom moved from Spitalfields. Bring your credit card as we plan to visit Vanners Silk Shop before a tour of Gainsborough House and the special exhibition 'Silk: From Spitalfields to Sudbury'.

Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury

Canterbury: Monday 23rd October

Dan Cruickshank will be the opening speaker at the Canterbury Festival and preceding this, at 2pm, there will be a walking tour to see the historic weavers’ houses in the city. For details of the walking tour please email

Weavers’ house, Canterbury

The Journeymen Weavers’ Houses

With the support of SPAB, the last opportunity to hear about the Journeymen Weavers’ Houses with Peter Guillery will be on Wednesday 27th September at the remarkable German Lutheran Church in Alie Street, E1 8EB. The church is not usually open to the public so this is a rare chance to see inside. It is a gem of a building run by The Historic Chapels Trust. Contact

"Utterly fascinating insight into the way the journeymen weavers lived. Although these buildings weren’t built to last, it is staggering that they are still standing today" was the view of one of our visitors for the first of our four Journeymen Weavers’ Story walks.


Tickets for the three remaining walks this year can be purchased in advance using the link below or just turn up on the day. Meet at Shoreditch High Street station at 2pm. Donation £10.

Julia Kuznecow leading the Journeymen Weavers’ Story walk

Huguenot Threads


Building on our work with the Royal College of Art and London Metropolitan CASS London, we are embarking on a new higher educational initiative, devising programmes to fit in with the undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Gina Pierce, who headed the project at CASS, said:

'Seeing the beautiful Spitalfields silks in the archive of the Victoria & Albert Museum inspired the students to create new printed and stitched work. The reverse of the silks, with the floats creating contemporary looking abstracted shapes appealed to them, as did the intensity of the colours. In the archive they were able to see not only the fabrics, but complete garments and shoes, which really brought them to life, and helped them to imagine the fabrics being worn. The work they produced was some of the best of the year.' 

CASS display for Soho Create

Diary Dates

Huguenot Footsteps Walks in Spitalfields: 6th June, 4th July, 1st August, 5th September and 3rd October. Raising funds for the Educational Project these 90 minute walks take you around the historic areas of Spitalfields. Meet on the first Tuesday of the month from May to October at 2pm outside Christ Church Spitalfields.


Huguenots in Greenwich: 12th August. Meet outside the Tourist Information Centre at 11am. Guide Kate Boyle will fascinate you with the Huguenot history and characters that once lived here.


Other events you may be interested in

London Tree Week:  ends 4th June

Our devotion to the mulberry tree continues and we support The Conservation Foundation’s programme Morus Londinium.  Visit the Greater London Authority's website page on London Tree Week  for more information.

Morus Londinium Mulberry

299th Anniversary Evensong Service: Saturday 3rd June

The Rt. Revd. Michael Langrish will deliver a sermon at this annual event at Rochester Cathedral at 3:15pm, which will be followed by a free tour of The French Hospital. If you would like to attend, please contact Vanessa Weddell on 01634 843 107 or e-mail


Talk at the Huguenot Museum: Dickens' Household Words: Traits and Stories of the Huguenots: Saturday 10th June, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, £5.00

Find out about Dickens’ connections to the Huguenots and hear about the stories of 19th century Huguenots in the words of Dickens’ fellow author, Elizabeth Gaskell.

Gardens in Spitalfields: Saturday 10th June

Once again, a group of Spitalfields’ gardens will be open to raise money for cancer charities organised by the National Garden Scheme.


500th anniversary of the Reformation: 4th October.  Talk at St Mellitus College, London by The Rt Revd. Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington and Chelsea. Visit the St Mellitus College website for more information.

Heritage Open Day at The French Hospital: Saturday 9th September 10:00am-4:00pm

If you are not able to make the 299th Anniversary Evensong at Rochester Cathedral, there is another opportunity to visit The French Hospital, just off the High Street, in Rochester. These almshouses comprise nineteen terraced houses in a historic square and are not normally open to the public. The picturesque main square was formerly a brewery and the vaults still lie beneath the road and gardens today. 

You will be able to visit the private Huguenots’ Garden, which features plants that would have been familiar to gardeners of the 16th and 17th C in France and England.  A few doors away is the Huguenot Museum where admission is free for this day.

We Were Asked

We heard that the Huguenots brought the Protestant work ethic. Can you recommend some reading?

John Dupuis has recommended reading Max Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” (1905).


I plan to visit the places where my ancestors once lived in SW France this summer. Please will you give me some useful websites?

There is a local organisation focused on Protestantism.  Also the Montauban Tourism website and the  Musée Ingres may be helpful.


We Were Told

Daniele Lamarche tells us of a hidden baptismal font in the house where her grandfather was born near Pau. In 1608, Henri IV loaned £9,000 its previous Huguenot resident, Bernard d’Arros, to renovate the property. For more details visit the Jardins du Château de Viven website.


Did you know?

Huguenot Plaques

The late fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, was a Huguenot and held his first show at the unrestored Christ Church in 1996. There is a plaque outside his home in Aberdeen Road, Islington, where he lived.


Please let us know if you have seen any other plaques around the country that have Huguenot connections.

Alexander McQueen Plaque

La Providence / The French Hospital

La Providence is as relevant today as it was for our Huguenot forefathers. All UK residents of Huguenot descent who are in need may qualify for affordable housing in one of the 55 self contained flats in Rochester. Contact for details.


Huguenot Ancestry – Can you Help?


Peter Mellalieu’s family were silk weavers who settled in Middleton, Manchester in 1634. He is curious to find out why they settled there rather than in London.  Was there a silk weaving centre in Manchester?  He asks if anyone can shed any light on this? If so, contact Peter at


Maree Foord is researching her family roots and is keen to know of any links with the Chabot family. Her great grandmother Jane Chabot left England for Australia in the mid 1800s. Contact Maree at


Has anyone heard of a George Augustus De Winter? The family are thought to be Huguenot, and his descendants joined the Huguenot Society. George arrived in Ireland aged 18 and trained as a teacher with the Kildare Place Society in 1827. Contact Liz Christmas at

Audrey Fussell is interested in hearing from anyone with information about the 18th century French enamel workers in Bilston and south Staffordshire, producing patch boxes and snuff boxes. Contact Audrey at

1660s snuff box, image credit Audrey Fussell

Save the French Protestant Church, Soho Square


This historic building, designed by Aston Webb, is the last Huguenot Church holding regular services in London, and its facilities are now in great need of modernisation.

Huguenot Church, Soho

The Church also desperately needs to instigate a comprehensive programme of conservation of the historical library and archive. For details of how you can help, email:

Goldsmiths' Centre and Walking Tour of Clerkenwell

Our visit to the Goldsmiths’ Centre was extraordinary – we were able to see casting, engraving and a silversmiths at close hand and to talk directly to the artisans was a real privilege. Afterwards, David Evans, our Huguenot guide in Clerkenwell, took us on a tailor-made tour of the local area. David had undertaken original research to bring the Huguenot characters who had once walked the streets to life.

An engraver at Sam James Ltd. in the Goldsmith’s Centre



For daily insight into East End culture, follow The Gentle Author’s blog: Spitalfields Life –


The latest publication from Spitalfields Life Books is: "A Hoxton Childhood & The Years After" by A.S. Jasper, published at £20. Also available on Amazon



A new book, "Light After Darkness" gives an account of a Huguenot refugee, Charles Juchau, who came from Poitou and settled in Soho in the early 18th century. It also traces the life of his great grandson, James Juchau, who was sent to Australia as a juvenile convict in 1830. There he made good and raised a family and succeeded in business. One of his sons, also Charles, went on to be the first mayor and magistrate in a town in rural NSW.

Published by Cilento and available on Amazon.

Thank you.

We warmly appreciate all the support and help that you give to the Huguenots of Spitalfields Charity.

The views and opinions expressed in these article are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Huguenots of Spitalfields charity.

Please contact with your comments, views and contributions or requests for previous issues of the Strangers' Newsletter.  The charity is currently led by volunteers so do bear with us if there is a delay in the reply to your message.

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