The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 30 The City To The East Of The Bank


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The district of SPITALFIELDS, to the south-east of Shoreditch, takes its name from the priory of St. Mary Spital, founded in 1197, where the 'Spital Sermon' was first preached. This probably stood in or near Spital Square . Spitalfields was once largely occupied by silk-weavers, partly descended from the Huguenot refugees (1585), but the making of boots and furniture is now the main industry. Bird-fanciers also are numerous. Spitalfields Market, in Commercial Street, deals in vegetables and fruit. At No. 4 Fort St. (to the west), a house with the large attic windows characteristic of the silk-weavers' abodes, Samuel Gompers (1850-1925), the American labour leader, was born. Christ Church, at the corner of Commercial St. and Fournier St., is a good example of Hawksmoor's work. It is one of 50 churches for which an act was passed in Queen Anne's reign and of which about a dozen were built, all of architectural interest. Still farther east lies Bethnal Green.