A history of the French in London: Liberty, equality, opportunity


Debra Kelly
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.

The book 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 as part of the IHR Conference Series by the Institute of Historical Research.


  • 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, 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, 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, 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, Helen Drake
  • Conclusion: a temporal and spatial mapping of the French in London
    Debra Kelly
    Debra Kelly


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June 13, 2013

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