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This article was written on 07 Jul 2014, and is filled under AGA History.

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AGA Shop Spitalfields and the new AGA City60

3rd of July was a red-letter day for AGA. Along with the launch of the AGA City60, the 60cm AGA perfect for urban living, we opened our first AGA London shop in Spitalfields. The model Daisy Lowe cut the AGA cake for the launch. Once again the company is triggering a life-changing revolution in the British households. AGA makes possible the creation of a warm welcome home in the big city, a cosy space of your own, where you can enjoy better food and better living.

Feel fee to have a look at the mini-history booklet I have prepared for the launch: City60 Heritage.

I was delighted to learn the news from Lady AGA. AGA in London, where every corner tells a story! I decided to learn more about the history of Spitalfields and the culture of the place:

I discovered that Spitalfields is named after St.Mary Spital, a priory hospital located on the east side of Bishopsgate throughfate in 1197. Walter Bruns and his wife Rosia are noted as the founders of the Priory. In addition to a place of worship, the Priory was known for its hospital which cared for pilgrims, the sick, pregnant women and orphans. The Priory was run down when it was dissolved in 1539 although the hospital remained in use.

The area was mainly fields and nursery gardens until late in the 17th century when Irish and Huguenot silk weavers arrived there. In 1689 King William III actively encouraged their settlement into the UK, promising them his royal protection. The Queen was particularly interested in accommodating the Huguenots, aware that many had come from Lyon, a silk weaving center in France. She knew their silk weaving skills would bring a welcomed improvement to the garments industry in London. Despite local protestations England’s anti-Catholicism meant that the Huguenot’s were generally well received.

The houses built for the Huguenots were tall and thin, similar although not exactly the same as the types of house you might find in Amsterdam. Each house has French shutter, and an attic with a window where the weaver would do his or her work. The weavers’ houses still stand today, and looking at a road-map of Spitalfields it’s not hard to tell where they are located.

The late 17th and 18th centuries saw an estate of well-appointed terraced houses, built to accommodate the master weavers controlling the silk industry, and grand urban mansions built to around the newly created Spital Square.

In 1881 the first of what was a series of pogroms, which culminated with the holocaust in the mid twentieth century, took place in the Ukraine. The pogroms comprised an orchestrated series of violent acts against Jewish property and peoples. Further pogroms took place during the Bolshevik Revolution and in countries as far away as Greece, Poland and Romania. In response to the violence millions of Jews fled Russia and Germany in the late nineteenth century arriving in London and Spitalfields. As the Jews became more wealthy they began to move out of East London and into northern suburbs like Golders Green, Hendon and Finchley.

The Spital Fields market was established in 1638 with license from Chrales I and currently receives around 25, 000 visitors every week.

Evidence of the people and communities that have given the area it’s unique character can still be seen – a Huguenot church, a Methodist chapel, a Jewish synagogue, and Muslim mosque stand among traditional and new shops, restaurants, markets and homes.

Follow the link to discover a unique photographic compilation from Horace Warner’s albums. His work discovers sympathetic portraits of the children who lived in the courtyards off Quaker St – known as the Spitalfields Nippers.

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