Princelet Street

London, England

Princelet Street is dedicated to all the immigrants that have come before and called it home.

Princelet Street 5
- Simon

Discover London’s Princelet Street

Untouched by time, the narrow Princelet Street in Spitalfields, with its quaint Georgian-era houses, Flemish brickwork, sash windows, and elegant doorways, is the epitome of London’s heritage. Dating back to the early 18th century, Princelet Street was developed by Charles Wood and Simon Mitchell. However, it wasn't until the 1960s and 1970s that the street was recognised for its significance, becoming designated as a Conservation Area in 1976. One of the champions of Princelet Street's preservation was Peter Lerwill, who acquired and restored number 13 in 1984. Lerwill's dedication to preserving the street led to the bequeathal of the property to the Landmark Trust.

Princelet Street 1
- BrotherMagneto

The Origins of Princelet Street

Originally laid out in 1681 as Booth Street, Princelet Street was made longer after World War I to avoid confusion with its adjacent road. The houses, which were largely rebuilt in the late 19th century, reflect a blend of traditional and modern architectural styles. The western side of the street, built in 1705, provided housing for London's working-class residents and immigrants, particularly French Protestants fleeing religious persecution. But the street also saw waves of Jewish immigrants arriving and one of London's first synagogues was built on the street in 1869.

One of the most intriguing tales associated with the street is that of David Rodinsky, a reclusive Jewish scholar who mysteriously disappeared in 1969, leaving behind a room filled with books and confusing notes. Nearby, at number 17, Miriam Moses, the first female mayor of Stepney, was also born in 1886.

Princelet Street
The Miriam Moses Plaque at 17 Princelet Street - M. J.

19 Princelet Street

One of the more famous houses on the street was 19 Princelet Street. Built in 1719, this address became the home of the Ogier family, French Huguenot immigrants fleeing persecution. Engaging in the silk weaving trade the Ogier family prospered, as many Huguenots in the area did—taking advantage of the abundant natural light to ply their trade.

However, by the early 19th century, the silk weaving industry was facing a crisis in the form of cheaper imports, leading to the neighbourhood's decline. The grand Georgian terraces that were once elegant homes were divided into lodgings, workshops, and warehouses, slipping into slums.

Princelet Street 4
- Jim Linwood

Museum of Immigration and Diversity on Princelet Street

Amidst this decline, the house was occupied by many different families, after the Ogiers, Mrs. Mary Ellen Hawkins, opened an industrial school at the property, and later it was purchased by Isaiah Woodcock, a carver and gilder. Today, the humble looking 19 Princelet Street has become the Museum of Immigration and Diversity.

Despite its worn floorboards, faded walls, and limited opening hours, 19 Princelet Street was one of the first museum’s to explore London's immigrant history. Operated by The Spitalfields Centre, a registered charity staffed by dedicated volunteers, the museum focuses on Huguenots, Irish, Polish, and Bengali immigrants. It also still features the synagogue in the back garden, as a reminder of the Jewish community's presence in the area.

Princelet Street 2
- Patrick Buechner

Visiting 19 Princelet Street

This building, described as "the most amazing found object" by artist Kinsi Abdulleh, is a time capsule of three centuries worth of history and heritage in Spitalfields. While 19 Princelet Street is rarely open due to the need for repairs and funding, special open days are held periodically.

The home is filled with many artefacts such as a stone sink in the basement kitchen, a remnant from its Huguenot occupants, wooden pews, and a Jewish candelabra. Empathetic exhibits like "Suitcases and Sanctuary” in the back parlour reflect on the act of immigrating—leaving, arriving, and everything in between—inviting cross-community understanding. Crafted by local school children and artists, this exhibit invites guests to "listen to the walls" and contemplate the themes of identity and belonging.

Further inside you can visit the synagogue, once echoing with prayer. Today, it is occupied by dusty chandeliers, Victorian glass skylights, and faded gilt lettering. In the basement, there is evidence of the activist meetings, held during the anti-fascist movement and Oswald Mosley's tumultuous reign.

Princelet Street 3
- stevekeiretsu

Practical Information for Visiting Princelet Street

How to Get There

Princelet Street is located in Spitalfields, East London. The nearest Underground station is Liverpool Street, which is served by the Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines. From Liverpool Street Station, it’s a short walk to Princelet Street.

Best Time to Visit

Princelet Street can be visited year-round. Check in advance for any special events or openings at the Museum of Immigration and Diversity.

Nearby Attractions

But the journey doesn’t need to end here! While visiting Princelet Street, why not take the opportunity to explore other nearby attractions including the Spitalfields Market, and Brick Lane, famous for its street art, vintage shops, and tasty food.

Princelet Street 6
- Julie Kertesz

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What you need to know

Princelet Street
Princelet Street, Spitalfields, London, E1 5, England, United Kingdom
51.519771, -0.071549
Tips before you visit

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