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Brick Lane

Biography

Let us take you by the hand and lead you through a street of London, recalling the Huguenot and Jewish experiences on Brick Lane

Brick Lane: the Basics

East London's most famous thoroughfare is steeped in history. Now the vibrant heart of the district known as Banglatown, it has been a magnet for migrant communities of different origins over the centuries. The building that now houses the Jamme Masjid mosque is symptomatic of the shifting identities of the area: in the past, it has served as a Protestant church for Huguenots, a Methodist chapel and a Jewish synagogue.

Brick Lane: the Basics
Huguenot Brick Lane

Huguenot Brick Lane

For centuries, Brick Lane has taken in newcomers, often fleeing from persecution in their native lands. The late 17th century saw the coming of the Huguenots, as French Protestants were nicknamed by their Catholic enemies. The Huguenots described themselves as “réfugiés” (seekers of refuge) which has given us our word, ''refugee''.

Jewish Brick Lane

In the late 19th century, the streets around Brick Lane were dramatically transformed by an influx of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. New synagogues, kosher butchers and restaurants opened, and a rich Yiddish culture emerged, with its own newspapers and theatres.

Jewish Brick Lane