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Images are exciting historical documents. They let us see something of what life was like in the past. Look at these images to build up a clearer picture of the Huguenot’s in London.

Greenwich Park, C.1750

 

Greenwich Park, C.1750

Greenwich Park has strong links to the Huguenot community through Salomon de Caus. Salomon was born in Northern France in 1576. Inspired by the gardens he saw in Europe , particularly Italy , he became famous as a hydraulic engineer. This meant he designed fountains and grand water features. In England he designed a garden on the site now occupied by the Maritime Museum in Greenwich Park and also the garden of Somerset House . As a Huguenot he spent much of his life as a refugee. He died in 1626.

Christ Church, Spitalfields, viewed from Brushfield Street, 1816.

 

Christ Church, Spitalfields, viewed from Brushfield Street, 1816.

Christ Church Spitalfields was designed and built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714-29 .

The church was commissioned by parliament under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711. This act aimed to combat the spread of Non-Conformism to the established Church of England . 

The Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in France had come to Spitalfields to work in the local silkweaving industry.  By building Christ Church the establishment challenged the non-conformist Huguenot community.

Bishopsgate, 1736

Bishopsgate, 1736

This view of Bishopsgate tells us a lot about the people who lived and worked there in 1736. On the right hand side of the picture a shopkeeper has displayed stockings on poles. Stocking weaving was a trade linked to Huguenots and it is possible that this shop was run by Huguenot refugees

‘ Noon ', by William Hogarth (detail). 1738

' Noon ', by William Hogarth (detail). 1738

This picture represents the congregation coming out of the French Church in Hog Lane . In front of the congregation are a couple dressed in fine silk clothes.

Wesleyan Chapel, Spitalfields, Erected by the French refugees in 1743, leased to the Wesleyans in 1819 and restored in 1869

Wesleyan Chapel, Spitalfields, Erected by the French refugees in 1743, leased to the Wesleyans in 1819 and restored in 1869

The Huguenot community were refugees running away from religious persecution. At first they used existing protestant churches in England . However, it was very important for them to establish their own.

"The Fellow 'Prentices at their Looms" (Industry and Idleness), William Hogarth, 1747.

"The Fellow 'Prentices at their Looms" (Industry and Idleness), William Hogarth, 1747.

William Hogarth created 'picture stories' which commented on issues of the day. In his series of drawings on industry and idleness he follows the fortunes of two young weavers. Here they are shown learning their craft, one applies himself whilst the other is clearly bored and restless. After many adventures, one apprentice is executed whilst the other becomes Lord Mayor.

Although there is a moral to Hogarth's prints, he also gave us a very clear picture of the way in which the Huguenot weaver's would have worked.

St Matthew's, Bethnal Green, C.1760

St Matthew's, Bethnal Green, C.1760

St Matthews church in Bethnal Green had Huguenot worshippers. Certainly Huguenot families living in streets such as Hare Street worshipped at St Matthews.

Hare Court, Spitalfields, 1914.

Hare Court, Spitalfields, 1914.

Hare Court shows typical weaver's cottages. Look for the large windows in the top floor rooms. Weavers needed a lot of light for their work.

Eighteenth Century houses in Croom's Hill, Greenwich

Eighteenth Century houses in Croom's Hill, Greenwich

Some Huguenot settlers became wealthy people and a number of them settled in Croom Hill, Greenwich.

Entrance Hall, The Grange, Croom's Hill, Greenwich

Entrance Hall, The Grange, Croom's Hill, Greenwich

A number of refugees settled in Croom Hill, Greenwich . This interior view gives a strong sense of the grand houses they built.

Greenwich Park and Westminster Bridge C.1770

Greenwich Park and Westminster Bridge C.1770

In 1750 the first Westminster Bridge was built by Charles Labelye, a Huguenot engineer.

The French Protestant Church, Soho, built 1891. Doorway.

The French Protestant Church, Soho, built 1891. Doorway.

The carving above the door is done in a simple and modern style. It shows Edward VI giving his charter to refugees in 1550. Edward VI was the son of Henry VIII.

The French Protestant Church, Soho, built 1891.

The French Protestant Church, Soho, built 1891.

This church was built in 1891. Before it was opened Huguenots had worshipped at different churches, including the Orange Street , Leicester Square Congregational Church. This was founded by Huguenots in 1693.

Hanbury Street and Brick Lane, 1914.

Hanbury Street and Brick Lane, 1914.

These houses on the corner of Hanbury Street and Brick Lane show typical weavers cottages. The large windows let in a lot of light so the weaver could see the intricate work. If you look carefully you can still find houses which were used by the weavers .

Weaver in a Garret, 1910.

Weaver in a Garret, 1910.

This print was made in 1910. In the nineteenth century weaving declined as an industry. The industrial revolution meant that cloth could be made more cheaply in factories. However, it was still possible to find people making a living from the trade in to the early twentieth century

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