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BBC 4 22 January: Hidden Histories. Britain’s Oldest Family Businesses – Toye the regalia and medal maker

2014 January 22


another image of Princelet Street

Former weavers’ houses in Princelet Street, Spitalfields

I have just been watching this BBC4 programme in which I was filmed talking about silk weavers in Spitalfields and Bethnal Green in the nineteenth century. The Toye family moved into specialised work:  the Keans moved from silk weaving into the furniture trade (as did many thousand of other such families). It was interesting to discover that one of the Toyes died in the Hackney workhouse where my grandfather worked as an engineer a couple of decades later, as I  analysed in London Stories. The programme also included discussion of suffrage regalia in the Museum of London that was worn by ‘general’ Flora Drummond and which had apparently been offered to the suffrage movement by the Toye firm.

You can watch the programme through this link on iplayer for the next 14 days. (I  personally liked the close up shot of my red vegetarian shoes – but, unsurprisingly, this is not a key part of the programme!)

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