Spitalfields in one area of London that is famous for its markets much like Portobello Road. The area is saturated in history that goes back hundreds of years and includes the silk industry.
Spitalfields Market is one of the oldest and wonderfully diverse markets that London has to offer. It is a seven day market with different stalls appearing on different days that include fashion & style stalls, beauty products, a wide range of arts & crafts, interior design products and food & drink stalls.
Silk Industry & the Huguenots
The silk industry in Spitalfields was established by the French Protestant refugees, the Huguenots who settled in the area in 1685 after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. As they were outside of the City of London, the Huguenots hope to avoid the City Guilds.
In 1730s Irish Weavers came over to work in the silk trade after the decline of the linen industry in Ireland. Unfortunately this was also the period of time when a depression hit the silk industry in the UK due to French imports of silk and these led to the Spitalfields Riots in 1769. Sadly by 1822 labour rates forced the silk industry to move from the city into the country.
Though the silk industry was forced out of the city, the Huguenots legacy to Spitalfields came in the form of the churches that were built and still survive today including Christ Church, Spitalfields that was built to intimidate the dissenting Huguenots in the reign of Queen Anne and remind them of the power of the established church.
The church is open to visitors and is a stunning example of religious architecture. Built between 1714 and 1729 it was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.
Spitalfields Public Art
Spitalfields is “more than just a market” and the selection of public art that is on display in the area has been commissioned by the Royal British Society of Sculptors that includes work from Clare Burnett, Justine Cook, Marigold Hodgkinson, Jane Jobling, Diane Maclean and Graham Guy Robinson.
The collection is a wonderful example of what can be done with modern sculpture and a variety of different materials and the perfect thing to take in whilst wandering around Spitalfields on a clear winter’s night or a warm summer’s day in the company of an escort.