Sunday, 3 October 2010

Two nights in Shoreditch: The Huguenots

Given that we're shortly to be moving house, I have started to notice where other people live and the colours they have used in the decoration of their homes.

Now the Huguenot houses of Spitalfields are far removed from the little three bed detached cottage that we've bought, but the colour schemes are right up my street.

These are the homes built by the Huguenot silk weavers who arrived in London as refugees from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

The houses were built for the master weavers in the 17th and 18th centuries a but by the Victorian era the silk industry had declined to such an extent that the merchants' houses had become slums and Spitalfields the criminal centre of town.

These days the Huguenot houses have been restored to more than their former glory. They are studiously maintained by their owners who paint them all manner of Farrow and Ball shades, and have added things like roof terraces.

Th artist Tracey Emin lives in one, and they have become as much a part of East London tradition as bangers and mash.

A couple of the Huguenot houses of Fournier Street have been restored to their original period splendour, and one contains a museum, although don't ask me which.

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