Old Spitalfields, East End of London

Old Spitalfields, in the East End of London

I’m always having a mooch around Spitalfields, it’s only a few minutes from where I work so I often have a look around the market, especially on a Thursday when it’s Vintage day.

You’ll find Spitalfields, snuggled between Brick Lane to the East, Shoreditch to the North and Liverpool Street to the South and West, a small neighbourhood with a rich history going back to the 16th century.  Spitalfields is mainly centred around the lovely old covered market that used to be the hub of the old fruit and veg market, and it’s been refurbished over the last 10 years, along with a lot of the surrounding area.  There are now glassy office blocks and trendy clothes and coffee shops intermingled with the old Georgian houses of the nearby streets.  Here across the road to the market you’ll find Christ Church, the lovely old Church that stands at the end of Ebury Street.

Christ Church, Spitalfields

Christ Church, Spitalfields

The Ten Bells Pub on the corner of Fournier Street

The Ten Bells Pub on the corner of Fournier Street

The Local Pub, The Golden Heart

The Local Pub, The Golden Heart

I’m also intrigued with the history of this place and evidence of this is the near-original old houses still kept in their sombre colours that are completely fascinating.   Just walking round here is like stepping back in time as the owners of these houses tend to try to keep them to near the original condition that they were built.  No. 5 Fournier Street is known as The Town House and is open to the public – it’s almost completely in its original condition including things like furniture, kitchen equipment and curtains.  They also have a cafe in the kitchen and make cakes from old recipe books the owners found.

Old Georgian Townhouses in Fournier Street, Spitalfields

Old Georgian Townhouses in Fournier Street, Spitalfields

Over the last 500 years this area has seen waves of immigration which started with the French Huguenots escaping persecution in France, and bringing with them skills such as silk weaving, tailoring and hat making which made the area a centre for the textile industry.  These houses built for the Huguenots, were tall and thin, similar to the houses you might find in Amsterdam.   They have shutters on the windows and most have windows in the attic, where the weaver would be at work.  The names of the streets, like Fournier Street, Nantes Passage, Princelet Street and Fleur-de-Lys Street tells you their French history.

Shuttered Houses in Fournier Street, Spitalfields

Shuttered Houses in Fournier Street, Spitalfields

Quirky window found in Fournier Street

Quirky window found in Fournier Street

Very old Huguenot Houses

Very old Huguenot Houses

Original Textile Sign

Original Textile Sign

Thursday is Vintage day in the market……

Spitalfields Indoor Market

Spitalfields Indoor Market

Thursday is Vintage Day at Spitalfields

Thursday is Vintage Day at Spitalfields

Shops in the Market, Spitalfields

Shops in the Market, Spitalfields

There are loads of places to eat round here and one of the best fish in chip shops in the whole of London is right here, Poppies and there are always crowds of people lining up.

Poppies Fish & Chip Shop, Spitalfields

Poppies Fish & Chip Shop, Spitalfields

This is street food…..people sitting on the pavements eating their food, having a rest from their wanderings.

Street Food, Spitalfields

Street Food, Spitalfields

Street Food, Hanbury Street

Street Food, Hanbury Street

Tips for visiting Spitalfields:

  • Spitalfields is just a short walk away from Liverpool Street Station.  There’s also Shoreditch overground which is at the top of Brick Lane and just about a 10 minute walk away.

  • The busiest day is on a Sunday when both Brick Lane Market and Columbia Road Market are also on.  The Indoor Market has loads of stalls on a Sunday.

  • The Vintage Market is on a Thursday with loads of very old retro stuff.  There’s loads of old records here too.

Author: Debbie

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