The Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields

 

Welcomed at first with open arms and bringing luxury skills, the Huguenots’ fortunes fluctuated wildly. I talk about their early 18th-century houses that still stand, how they were decorated and lived in; I discuss the fashionable patterned silk dresses – who designed and made them. And how, finally the trade died out, with some weavers literally dying in poverty at their looms. One of the weavers’ houses can still be visited today.