Spitalfields: From Huguenots to Hipsters
London is a city of constant change and nowhere is this better illustrated than in the history of Spitalfields. Formerly the fashionable home of Spanish ambassadors to the English Courts of the 16th and 17th centuries, its first major development was courtesy of the Huguenots fleeing the religious persecution of Protestants in France in the late 17th century.
They laid out a grand estate of well-appointed terraces designed specifically for their trade and “Weaver Town” was born and prospered. Spitalfields became the landing point for various waves of 19th century migrants and became one of London’s notorious “rookeries” characterised by overcrowding and poverty. Then came the hipsters. Attracted by relatively cheap rents, “edgy” bars and restaurants started to move in.
Independent retailerssoon followed; former industrial premises were re-purposed as event, pop-up, and creative spaces; and the entrepreneurs of the new digital economies moved in. “Hipster Town” was born. Join Mark Rowland to hear the fascinating stories of Spitalfields that tell of hange, adaptation, decline and regeneration.