St Peter's Italian Church in Clerkenwell

  photo © conrad williams

A Warm Welcome To

Clerkenwell Our Little Italy

My grandparents were born in Atina, a small little mountain in Italy, located near to Montecassino in the Val di Comino.  In 1911 they left their beautiful paese behind to try and create a new beginning for themseves and their growing family. Their destination was the city of London.

Little Italy in London – The Hill

In the Summer of 1911 they found their way to Il Quartiere Italiano of Clerkenwell London.  This district was known as Little Italy by the English, and The Hill by the Italian residents.

Saint Peters Italian Church in Clerkenwell

My mother, Tina, was baptised in St Peter’s Italian Church in 1920 and married my father there in 1955. Then I was born and was also baptised at St Peter’s and I lived in Clerkenwell until, in 1957, we moved away to the countryside of Hertfordshire, away from the smogs of old London town. My mother would, however, return every so often on a Sunday to attend Mass at St Peter’s and as I grew up, on entering the church, I was spellbound by the opulent gold and marble decorations, the statues of the saints, the stations of the cross, the flickering candles and the heady wafting fragrance of the incense.

We also came at special times of the year, such as for the Italian Procession in July, which I walked in on two occasions, just as my mother had done before me. We also enjoyed attending the Christmas Bazaar in St Peter’s School hall, Herbal Hill, where my mother had gone to school.  My mother would fondly recount stories of her childhood and her memories of Little Italy in Clerkenwell and I decided to write them down and record them for future generations to learn from and to enjoy,  to preserve them them for posterity.  I am so happy to be able to share them with you now. Perhaps this might spark you into trying to find out more about your own Italian family’s colourful heritage and social history The Italian Family History Society can help you

Italian Heart
Italian Heart

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Last Updated : Feb 2019