The English silk industry expanded rapidly at the end of the 17th century, stimulated by the number of skilled Protestant weavers fleeing from religious persecution in France, and it became centered within one square mile of Spitalfields Market in London. In the first half of the 18th century it specialised in the design and weaving of the exquisite dress fabrics that were the subject of this fascinating talk.

Our speaker was Jennifer Wearden. Jennifer is a renowned expert on the history of textiles and dress.  She began working as a curator of textiles in the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1977 and became Senior Curator in the Dept. of Furniture, Textiles & Fashion before moving over to the V&A Academy where she is a Year Course Director and teaches her specialist subject. She is the author and co-author of several V&A publications, and wrote a foreword to a book on the Textile Treasures of the WI.