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37 Spital Square

The Spitalfields headquarters of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) – the country’s oldest building conservation charity, founded by William Morris in 1877. Brick-built, Grade II-listed former silk merchant’s house of c1740.

Built on the site of an earlier priory when the silk trade was at its peak and now the only 18th-century building left on Spital Square. Many surviving original features (including staircase, panelling and fireplaces), as well as sensitive later work, notably from the 1980s rescue and office conversion.

Rear courtyard with shade-loving plants, amongst which are herbs associated with Nicholas Culpeper, the physician and apothecary who once lived locally.

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The name ‘Spitalfields’ refers to the land owned by the hospital of St Mary Without, a medieval Augustinian priory, which was closed in 1539 during the Dissolution. From the late 17th-century onwards the land was gradually developed and house a growing population of Huguenot refugees (French protestants).

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