Huguenot Summer 2015

Artisans Crafts Exhibitions Fashion Historical textiles Selvedge shows and workshops

The Huguenots are an often overlooked demographic whose persecution and subsequent fleeing of France (dubbed by them as 'Le Refuge') was the first instance of the term 'refugee' being used. We owe a wealth of skill and industry to the Huguenots' migration to England, spanning from silk weaving to science. weaver As French Calvinist Protestants they were forced to leave France during the seventeenth century. It is estimated that over seven hundred thousand fled all together, over fifty thousand of whom are thought to have come to England. They had little choice but to risk their liberty and lives in fleeing their country - one account describes a fourteen year old girl disguising herself as an old man in order to walk the length of France towards freedom. It was such a huge migration that over ninety percent of people in the South East of England are thought to have Huguenot ancestors. spitalfields-silk They, like refugees today, had to re build their lives from nothing. As many of them were trained and skilled, their migration brought huge benefits to Britain (and other non Catholic European countries) including hospitals, churches and (particularly relevant to Selvedge) thriving communities of silk weavers. In Spitalfields today, wooden spools hung above shops are a retrospective indicator of where Huguenots once lived. Garthwaite-173132_5975_8_1_jpg_290x193_crop_q85 The Huguenot Summer 2015 celebrates the lives and talents of the Huguenots and includes events such as 'The Fabric of the City" 'Celebrating the Huguenot Weavers in Spitalfields & Contemporary Textile Designers in the City' an exhibition in which leading textile and fashion designers from East London have contributed works made in response to the seventeenth century silk weavers of Spitalfields. As well as a running series of talks, lectures and events across a range of locations. All events are listed on the Huguenot Society website, which is well worth scrolling through. Huguenot Summer Until September 2015 The Fabric of the City 10 - 25 July 2015 The Cass Bank Gallery, Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF       - S

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