The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

Silk Weavers named Collier

Piece of Writing for new Creative Writing/Reading Group, Barton Probus Club

Our new Group was asked to come up with a piece of writing around the word "cafe". I was inspired to write about a memorable visit to London in June 2015:

"The Town House, Spitalfields (A Gallery with Cafe)

In June 2015, I visited the Town House, 5 Founier Street,  Spitalfields.

It held 2 memories and 2 regrets.

On 4 June 2015, I met my first cousin and her husband Evan from Melbourne for the first time and took them on a tour of London particularly Spitalfields.

We were descended from Heinrich Brecht, who was a colour maker in Fashion Street, Spitalfields, not far from Fournier Street..

At one stage in the tour, we had coffee and cake in the basement of the Town House, which they found interesting as they were setting up a coffee house themselves in Melbourne.

My regret was that I lost the photos of the visit.

Huguenots Map

My wife's maiden name was Collier and some of her ancestors were Silk Weavers with Huguenot links.

At the time of our visit, the owner of the Town House was compiling a large map of East London on which the location of Huguenots was being added, including Fashion Street.

I regret that I did not buy a copy of the map, when given the chance.

Occupants of 5 Fournier Street, Spitalfields

For some years, The Town House was home to Silk Weavers, who lived there until about 1820. Buildings in the area had large attic windows which let in maximum light for the weavers."


I enjoyed writing the piece but it set off a further chain of events:

Relatively recently, I found that I had not written any account of my cousin's visit. The account I wrote was quite thin.

I had taken photos on my wife's camera but I could not find them.

On further investigation I found them attached to a 2015 e-mail that fortunately I had saved.

Thinking that I could make my account of the visit fuller and more interesting, I searched for other information and photos of the Town House.

To my surprise Abram/Abraham Miller, a furrier from Lithuania had lived at 5 Fournier Street and he was the grandfather of Jonathan Miller, the famous intellectual and opera director.

After I typed up this article , I updated my account of the visit in 2015 for my website and added:

- the photos of meeting up with my cousin:

Meeting with Cousin June 2015

- more information and photos about the Town House and the Huguenots Map

5 Fournier Street, Spitalfields

-I bought the book Maps of London & Beyond by Adam Dant the maker of the Huguenot Map. The Map appears in his book and  he lists the names of 350 Huguenot ancestors that have been added to the map.

So no more regrets!

To finish the project, I listed the 300 or so entries in the book and added a Names Index:

Huguenot Residents - Names Index 2015

I later found reference online to the Town House being known previously as The Market Cafe and the name can still just be read in the space for the fascia.

Colin Bower
31 August 2023

Link to:

Project Index

Made with CityDesk