‘Huguenots of Spitalfields’ festival to celebrate East End’s silk-weavers

The spirit of the Huguenots returns to London’s East End after 300 years with a two-week festival in April, announced this week.

The ‘Huguenots of Spitalfields’ is a celebration of the contribution the French refugee silk-weavers made when they settled here in the 17th and 18th centuries.

They set the pattern for the East End’s famous clothing and textile trade that survived three centuries.

The festival weaves its way through a fortnight of events from April 8 to 21, while marking the 250th anniversary of the death of Anna Maria Garthwaite in 1763, the outstanding English textile designer living in Princelet Street who worked with the Huguenots.

Venues include Spitalfields Market, Sandys Row Synagogue originally built as a Huguenot chapel, the Bishopsgate Institute, Hawksmoor’s Christ Church, Dennis Severs’ house at 18 Folgate Street restored to its original Huguenot state, the Bank of England Museum, the Town House in Fournier Street, the Geoffrey Museum in Kingsland Road and the little-known Clockmakers’ Museum at the Guildhall. Full details in the coming weeks.

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