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06 April 2020The Cultural Heritage of the Huguenots [Cancelled]

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The Cultural Heritage of the Huguenots [Cancelled] Susan Jackson Monday 06 April 2020


Venue: The Walton Suite, Guildhall, Winchester SO23 9GH

Time:   10:00 for coffee, lectures 10:30 – 15:00

Cost:    £40 (includes coffee/tea, buffet lunch and a glass of wine)

CANCELLED on 13 March 2020.  We regret to announce that this study day has been cancelled following direction from The Arts Society's central office.   For a full refund please refer to the "News" page.

Escaping persecution in Catholic France, the Calvinist Huguenots came to this country in large numbers from the late 17thcentury. 

All immigrants contribute to society but the Huguenots perhaps more than most: as bankers, goldsmiths, occulists, clockmakers, weavers, scientists and horticulturists, they brought skills often surpassing those of the English. I will examine this cultural contribution in the first lecture. 

In the second lecture, we will follow the story of the silk weavers of Spitalfields. The Huguenots brought technical skills hitherto unknown to the English, and French fashions, then as now considered superior.   But the trade was always volatile and there were times of affluence and times of dire poverty. 

In the afternoon, we turn to how the 18thcentury ‘age of elegance’ was truly driven by the Huguenots.  The advent of new fashionable hot drinks such as tea, coffee and chocolate required suitable silver vessels in which to serve them.  And we see the advent of domestic ‘conversation pieces’ displaying these as status symbols. 

Rituals and a refined etiquette developed around taking tea, with the lady of the house now in charge of some of the most valuable possessions of the household. The Huguenots truly ushered in an English social revolution.


Susan Jackson

Originally in art and design publishing (Phaidon and Yale University Press), now lectures for the National Trust, U3A, City Literary Institute. A qualified Blue Badge Guide, she gives guided walks on various themes and has published work on the lost world of the River Fleet.


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