One of the pleasures of living in Blackfriars is the Church of St Andrew and St Ann which is right beside my pub and my flat.
The Church’s inspired Priest is Luke- and he’s also Archdeacon of London, which means the church hums. He organises events which I always try to go to and on Tuesday we celebrated 350 years since the end of the Fire of London with a lecture on refugees and a reading from Shakespeare’s Book of St Thomas More. There was also a most beautiful service sung by the English Chamber Choir.
Great as Shakespeare’s pleading for tolerance towards 17th century immigrants is, it was the following lecture on refugees , given by the Museum of London, that touched me.
The fire not only burnt down medieval London, it left its population homeless and, as importantly for a City built on trade- without trade.
The talk explained how – in the following three years, trade returned to the City through pop-up shops that were little more than tents and through the creation of an out of town shopping experience in Moorfields, directly to the north of the City.
Moorfields is now the area around Old Street roundabout that is home to the Fintech start-up. But before the fire it was just an agrarian hang-out for those wanting to get out of the City. Wettest and least loved of the Moorfields was Mallow Field, so named as it was covered in the Mallow plant, and as Mallow suggests, the Field was a Marsh.
The exodus of Londoners from the City following the fire led to Moorfields becoming, first a tented village, then an established shopping emporium. Gravelled street were laid down and the Mallow Field became home to commerce for the first time.
Mallow Street survives to this day, it was the way to the drained marsh. The Mallows went when the marsh was reclaimed.
All this should be of great historical interest to Redington , who some ten years ago set up a website http://www.mallowstreet.com which – like the physical street it was name after, has sprung up from the adversity of the financial calamity that came our way in 2007-8.
Like the Mallows, Mallowstreet.com has moved on and is now managed from Redington’s new offices in the heart of the City. By a spooky coincidence, the shops that sprang upin mallowfield were dismantled within seven years and re-established in the City, an ordinance from the City fathers prohibited further trade in Moorfields after 1673.
So not only do the modern and ancient Mallowstreets have their genesis in calamity , but they similarly re-assimilated themselves into the mainstream of City commerce in similar timeframes.
Mallowstreet’s founders, Rob Gardner and Dawid Konotey-Ahulu have been very kind to me over the years and both Mallowstreet and Redington have gone from strength to strength. I dedicate this little blog to them as a little thank you!
If you are interested in Shakespeare’s thoughts on sending home Huguenots and other immigrants who were thought in the early 1600s to be taking up British jobs, here is the original text (in his own hand) and a decoding of the hand writing.
The speech of St Thomas More on refugees
imagin that yo" see the wretched straingers their babyes at their backj, and their poor lugage plodding tooth portj and costj for transportacion and that yo" sytt as kingj in your desyres 200 aucthoryty quyte sylenct by yo"^ braule and yo" in ruff of yo"^ [yo] opynions clothd what had yo"" gott, I'le tell yo", yo" had taught how insolenc and strong hand shoold prevayle how ordere shoold be quelld, and by this patterne not on of yo" shoold lyve an aged man for other ruffians as their fancies wrought with sealf same hand sealf reasons and sealf right woold shark on yo" and men lyke ravenous fishes woold feed on on another 210 Doll before god thatj as trewe as the gospell [Bettj] LINCOLN nay this a sound fellowe I tell yo" lets mark him MOOR Let me sett vp before yo' thoughts good freindj on supposytion which if yo" will marke yo" shall pceaue howe horrible a shape yo"^ ynnovation beres, first tis a sinn which oft thappostle did forwarne vs of vrging obedienc to aucthory(ty and twere [ ] no error yf I told yo" all yo" wer in armes gainst g( 193 D] doubly deleted, first by D and then in darker (modem ?) ink. 194 handy craftes\ e doubtful, Dyce omits, but there is something between t and s 195 noyce\ y altered from w ? 196 matte] sic, without any mark of contraction. 204 insolenc] Dyce insolence 210 a cross at the end probably in modern ink or pencil. 212 //«fo/»] inserted by C. Dyce supplies /j after />%« (unnecessarily). 213 moor] added by C. 217 obedienc] Dyce obedience aucthoryty] Dyce authority 11% g] Dyce your and supplies sovereign (but there is no possible room for such an addition, and the first letter is certainly g not y ; moreover the context imperatively requires god). sc. vi] Addition II (D) 77 all marry god forbid that FOL. 9* moo nay certainly yo" ar for to the king god hath his ofifyce lent aai of dread of lustyce, power and Comaund hath bid him rule, and willd yo" to obay and to add ampler matie. to this he [god] hath not [le] only lent the king his figure his throne [his] sword, but gyven him his owne name calls him a god on earth, what do yo" then rysing gainst him that god himsealf enstalls but ryse gainst god, what do yo° to yo' sowles in doing this o desperat [ar] as you are. 330 wash your foule mynds w' teares and those same handy that yo*" lyke rebells lyft against the peace lift vp for peace, and your vnreuerent knees [that] make them your feet to kneele to be forgyven [is safer warrs, then euer yo" can make] [whose discipline is ryot ; why euen yo"^ [warrs] hurly] [in in to yo' obedienc] [cannot f)ceed but by obedienc] TELL ME BUT THIS what rebell captaine as mutynes ar incident, by his name can still the rout who will obay [th] a traytor or howe can well that pclamation sounde 240 when ther is no adicion but a rebell to quallyfy a rebell, youle put downe straingers kill them cutt their throts possesse their howses and leade the matie of lawe in liom