Edited by Debra Kelly and Martyn Cornick


This book examines, for the first time, the history of the social, cultural, political and economic presence of the French in London, and explores the multiple ways in which this presence has contributed to the life of the city.

The capital has often provided a place of refuge, from the Huguenots in the 17th century, through the period of the French Revolution, to various exile communities during the 19th century, and on to the Free French in the Second World War. It also considers the generation of French citizens who settled in post-war London, and goes on to provide insights into the contemporary French presence by assessing the motives and lives of French people seeking new opportunities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It analyses the impact that the French have had historically, and continue to have, on London life in the arts, gastronomy, business, industry and education, manifest in diverse places and institutions from the religious to the political via the educational, to the commercial and creative industries.

Published in 2013 as part of the IHR Conference Series

Individual chapters are available Open Access via JSTOR Open Access Books

Read a review of this book in Reviews in History

a logo

Table of contents

About the contributors

Introduction: The French in London: a study in time and space
Martyn Cornick

1. A special case? London’s French Protestants
Elizabeth Randall

2. Montagu House, Bloomsbury: a French household in London, 1673–1733
Paul Boucher and Tessa Murdoch

3. The novelty of the French émigrés in London in the 1790s
Kirsty Carpenter

4. Courts in exile: Bourbons, Bonapartes and Orléans in London, from George III to Edward VII
Philip Mansel

5. The French in London during the 1830s: multidimensional occupancy
Máire Cross

6. Introductory exposition: French republicans and communists in exile to 1848
Fabrice Bensimon

7. The French left in exile: Quarante-huitards and Communards in London, 1848–80
Thomas C. Jones and Robert Tombs

8. ‘Almost the only free city in the world’: mapping out the French anarchist presence in London, late 1870s–1914
Constance Bantman

9. Experiencing French cookery in nineteenth-century London
Valerie Mars

10. The London French from the Belle Epoque to the end of the inter-war period (1880–1939)
Michel Rapoport

11. French cultural diplomacy in early twentieth-century London
Charlotte Faucher and Philippe Lane

12. Mapping Free French London: places, spaces, traces
Debra Kelly

13. ‘The first bastion of the Resistance’: the beginnings of the Free French in London, 1940–1
Martyn Cornick

14. Raymond Aron and La France Libre (June 1940– September 1944)
David Drake

15. From the 16ème to South Ken? A study of the contemporary French population in London
Saskia Huc-Hepher and Helen Drake

Conclusion: a temporal and spatial mapping of the French in London
Debra Kelly