Spitalfields is one of the first suburbs of the City of London, a place on the edge, immediately adjacent to the City, yet outside its eastern boundary and hence historically partly free of the oppressive authority of church and state. It originated in the seventeenth century as a reception zone for the functions and persons that were not – no longer or not yet – welcome in the City, but were nevertheless necessary for its life and growth. To enable the City to focus its energies upon commercial speculations after the fire of London in 1666, its population was dispersed and various trades and occupations were cast out of its gates. Several of the market traders who had previously gathered outside St Paul’s cathedral moved their businesses to Spitalfields. Around 1683, when a royal charter was granted to sell ‘flesh, fowl and roots’ in this new suburb, Spitalfields market came into being to continue for over three centuries. Throughout this period Spitalfields has constituted a point of entry into London for political refugees and economic immigrants, not only due to its reputation of hosting nonconformity and its accessible yet highly competitive economy of (street) markets and smallscale workshops, but also because of its proximity to the Pool of London – the point of immigrant disembarkation – its cheap, speculative housing and its mixed, densely built fabric.