Chuts (ˈxʊts/) is the name applied to the Jews who immigrated to London from the Netherlands during the latter part of the 19th century. Many were from Amsterdam bringing with them trades such as cigar, cap and slipper making.
They settled in the area of Spitalfields known as the Tenterground which was a former enclosed area where Flemish weavers had stretched and dried cloth on machines called tenters (hence the expression "on tenterhooks").
By the 19th century, it was developed with houses and became an enclave where the Dutch immigrants lived as a close-knit and generally separate community.
There was a rivalry between the Chuts and the later Jewish immigrants, not least because the Chuts had arrived as city-dwellers, with useful industrial skills, and had already learned to speak English, whereas the later immigrants were generally impoverished rural workers who had to learn new trades in the notorious sweatshops and, arriving penniless and in great numbers.
The origin of the name Chuts is uncertain. Is is thought it derives from the Dutch word goed (meaning "good") and is imitative of the foreign-language chatter that others heard. It is also Hebrew חוץ for "outside" or "in the street" and may have been applied to the Dutch Jews of London either because they were socially isolated or because many were street vendors. Another possibility is that the Hebrew word would have appeared increasingly in Amsterdam synagogue records as more and more emigrated to London, and others who followed would have "gone chuts" (i.e., emigrated).
The Chuts were treated with suspicion by other Jews because they had developed specific customs and practices. Unusually in Amsterdam, Ashkenazim (so-called "German Jews") and Sephardim (so-called "Spanish Jews") lived in close proximity for centuries, resulting in a cultural blend not found elsewhere. Most remarkably, the Dutch Jews were well accustomed to the sea, and ate seafood’s considered not kosher by other Jewish communities.
Demolished and rebuilt during the twentieth century, the Tenterground is now bounded by White's Row, Wentworth Street, Bell Lane and Toynbee Street (formerly Shepherd Street).