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Spitalfields Silks at Museum of London

Mon 21st February 2011
3.00 - 4.30pm

Museum of London,
Barbican, London



On 21 Feb a group from the society made an interesting dual site visit based on the work and times of the Spitafields silk weavers in eighteenth century London.

We met in a small cobbled side street in east London for the first part of our day, outside a dwelling known as Dennis Severs house. From a dilapidated ruin Dennis Severs recreated the building as the home of a fictional family of such silk weavers through the period 1725 to 1919. Each room evokes a different time or situation in the life of the house and is full of all the possessions, ornament and detritus of every day living. As visitors we were asked to walk around in silence and treat the house and its contents as if its historical inhabitants had just stepped out for a moment. The first impression is of just how small and dark it was, the only light being from candles or gas mantles, and how cramped a space for a family to live in. As the eye becomes used to the gloom the imagination and curiosity take over, the tiny baby shoes under the high chair, family portraits, the household furnishings and the meals left on the table half eaten! The lower ground, first and second floors had a feeling of home comforts and a fairly good standard of life but the top floor of two rooms that were lodgings for a poor labouring family were cold, dirty, sparse and grim. Overall a fascinating and slightly surreal experience which certainly provoked many topics for conversation.


5 Numbers limited to 15
Booking closes Feb 1st.
Contasct Meg Andrews


Tube: Barbican, St Paul's, Moorgate
Bus: 4, 8, 24, 25, 56, 100, 172