HISTORY

The story of the French Protestant Church of London can be traced back to the reign of Edward VI, when the young English monarch, son of Henry VIII, favouring the ideas of the Reformation, authorised, by Royal Charter, the founding of a Strangers’ Church of mainly French and Walloon origin.

Thanks to this early foundation, the French churches of England were in turn able to help their co-religionists fleeing the wars of religion, and later, the persecutions of Louis XIV.

In total, around 65,000 French Protestants found asylum in England, of which 40 to 50 thousand during the reign of Louis XIV (“The Great Refuge”). At the height of these persecutions, more than 28 churches existed in London alone, and about twenty more outside London.

Often highly trained and bringing with them sophisticated methods of production, the Huguenot refugees made long-lasting contributions to English crafts and knowledge, for example in the textile, clock-making, cabinet-making and printing industries, but not only. The names of John Houblon, first governor of the Bank of England, de Romilly, champion of the reform of Criminal Law, de Minet in the insurance services, etc. all exemplify the swift assimilation of this community.
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ARCHITECTURE

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The present church, a graded building designed by none other than Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930), dates from 1893. The architect is particularly renown for the eclectic style of his designs, from the reinvention of the modern museum at the Victoria and Albert, to the classical style of Buckingham Palace’s façade. The Soho church itself embodies the diversity of his influences. The façade on the square is of Flemish Gothic style while inside the late romanesque style prevails.
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LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES

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The Library was first mentioned in the church council minutes (Actes du Consistoire) in 1613-1615 with a gift of books, provision of space and appointment of a librarian. Saved from the Great Fire of London in 1666, the archives and books have been housed since 1893 in a room specially designed as a library by Aston Webb. The collection consists not only of books – some bequeathed by members of the congregation – but also of archives, the oldest dating back to 1560.

From original sermons written by Calvin, to Royal Charters allowing the foundation of new churches or Consistory minutes, these archives give us an insight into the daily life of a community affected by historical events. Distressing stories can be read into the lists of collections made for the reception and relief of the French refugees, who had to leave their possessions behind
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EDUCATIONAL RESSOURCES

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This page is currently under construction and will be regularly updated over the next few months, so please do regularly check its contents. Our goal is to offer educational resources on the Huguenot history.

You can already find there all the information you need to organise a visit. You will also find on this page resources about the past and present exhibitions.
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CULTURE

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Concerts, conferences, theatre, exhibitions, the church of Soho Square hosts or regularly organises cultural events. You will find upcoming events in the news section and all the information on renting our space on the location page.

Visits of the church can be organized on request, do not hesitate to contact us.
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