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Lost 18th Century Houses In Spitalfields

June 19, 2014
by the gentle author

The handsome terraces of silk merchants’ houses in the streets beside Christ Church and in Elder St declare their history readily, yet there are other more modest buildings of the same era in Spitalfields which exist as the last vestiges of the workshops and dwellings where the weavers pursued their trade. You might easily walk past without even noticing these undemonstrative structures, standing disregarded like silent old men in the crowd.

I am indebted to Peter Guillery and his book The Small House in Eighteenth Century London for highlighting these buildings where the weavers worked, which are equally significant historically as the more flamboyant homes of those who profited from their labour.

As part of the forthcoming Huguenot Threads festival, Peter Guillery is giving a lecture entitled Forgotten Weavers’ Houses of Spitalfields on Thursday 10th July and admission is free.

3 & 5 Club Row, two survivors of a terrace of six four-room houses built 1764-6

190 & 192 Brick Lane, weavers’ houses of 1778-9 built by James Laverdure (alias Green), Carpenter

113 & 115 Bethnal Green Rd, two five room houses of c.1735 probably built by William Farmer, Carpenter

70-74 Sclater St, three houses built for weavers c.1719

70-74 Sclater St, No 70 was refronted in 1777

97 & 99 Sclater St, built c 1720

46 Cheshire St, built in the sixteen-seventies

4a – 6a Padbury Court, probably built c. 1760

125 Brick Lane, shop and workshop tenement probably built in 1778 for Daniel Dellacort, a distiller

13 Responses leave one →
  1. Jenny Atins permalink
    June 19, 2014

    I can’t believe that these historic and beautiful houses have not been restored.

  2. sbw permalink
    June 19, 2014

    Thank you very much. Much appreciated. s

  3. marianne isaacs permalink
    June 19, 2014

    Oh wow they are so old . I live in Australia which was maybe a topic of converstion in these little houses as it was “discovered” by Captian Cook in 1770. These are so precious . They have seen so much death and destruction and survived . I do hope they will all be loved and nurtured back to the life they deserve. Lovely story.

  4. David j Gabriel permalink
    June 19, 2014

    Wonderful old buildings I wonder how much longer thay can last ?

  5. June 19, 2014

    I m pleased to see that quite a lot of these houses have survived, although many seem to be in a very bad state of repair – I hope they will be restored ad not demolished. Valerie

  6. Chris permalink
    June 19, 2014

    That’s amazing! I’ve been familiar with these houses all my life but had no idea that they were so old!

  7. Sara Strawson permalink
    June 19, 2014

    This is, indeed, very sad. So many lovely buildings have been lost through the years and, unfortunately, still are. This is a country wide issue and one that should be addressed. Many of the new developments are designed without a thought for the aesthetics of the area.
    I currently live in Bath where empty buildings, particularly industrial ones, are plentiful and have also seen the slow demise of many traditional and historic houses in Norwich disappear in favour of less attractive replacements. I am sure this is progress and I would be labelled a purist but I am sure this ‘progress’ is not always good.

  8. Sara Strawson permalink
    June 19, 2014

    As an addition to the above I found the house my ancestor lived in just off Brick Lane has gone. He was Jeremiah Forbes and was living at 11 Pelham Street, now Woodseer Street, in the 1851 Census. I believe it must have been opposite the houses which are still standing.

  9. June 19, 2014

    Not far from Kassel — the »GERMAN HUGUENOT MUSEUM«:
    http://www.huguenot-museum-germany.com/

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  10. June 19, 2014

    If only modern houses were built in such a beautifully aesthetic fashion.

  11. Pauline Taylor permalink
    June 19, 2014

    The first house in Padbury Court shows what can be done, not sure about the next two though, what has happened to their frontages and door cases? Still at least they have been saved, and I hope that many of the others will be saved and sympathetically restored, we cannot afford to lose these beautifully proportioned houses from our towns and cities. No buildings since have been as pleasing to the eye in my view.

  12. Peter Holford permalink
    June 20, 2014

    It begs the question of how many other old houses are hidden behind more modern frontages. Interesting as ever – thank you.

  13. Crystella Poupard permalink
    December 15, 2014

    My ancestors the Stokes and the Le Maires were all weavers in Spitalfields up to the mid nineteenth century. These buildings are not just my heritage but also the country’s. Too many wonderful buildings connecting us to the past have been lost in the name of commercial enterprise. These too were built with such a sentiment in mind, but at least they have some aesthetic value. We should hang on to them at all cost.

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