Streets of Bloomsbury

Streets of Bloomsbury

Subtitled 'A survey of streets, buildings and former residents in a part of Camden', edited by Steven Denford and David A. Hayes

Published by the Camden History Society, 128 pages. Rectangular paperback - c.20cm by 14cm (N7257)

From the inside front cover: This book is one of a series... that survey the history of all parts of the London Borough of Camden. The present volume is a complete revision and reworking of part of Streets of Bloomsbury and Fitzrovie, which appeared in 1997. In the years since it was published so much new information has become available that we have decided to produce two new books, each focusing on one of the two areas.

In this volume we cover the part of Bloomsbury west of Woburn Place and Southampton Row. It includes the historic manor of Blemundsbury, which became the Duke of Bedford's estate, as well as some non-Bedford land northward to the Euston Road. (For the rest of Bloomsbury, extending eastward to Gray's Inn Road, see Streets East of Bloomsbury)

We explore our survey area in seven walks, starting with the first part to be developed in the late 17th century, Bloomsbury Square. We then work our way gradually northwards in a broadly chronological fashion. Much of Bloomsbury's Georgian architectural grandeur survives, most notably in Bedford Square but in other squares too, although as it has expanded the University of London has added Modernist and more recent blocks. This area developed from a preserve of the fashionable, through residences for lawyers and merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries to a home of academia. Many writers and scholars chose to reside in an area close to the British Museum with its famous Reading Room (the forerunner of today's British Library). Bloomsbury's reputation as a haunt of intellectuals also derives from the so-called Bloomsbury set, the early- 20th-century group of authors and artists who, rebelling against their solid Victorian upbringing, notoriously 'lived in squares . but loved in triangles'. Virginia Woolf and her friends crop up time and again.

Other notable former residents of Bloomsbury have been so numerous that in some streets we have had to be selective, but the roll call is impressive. Authors range from Thomas Gray to Graham Greene alongside Carlyle, Dickens, Trollope, Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, poets such as C hristina Rossetti, Wilfred Owen and W B Yeats, and the noted thespians Sarah Siddons, Charles Kean and Ellen Terry. Other performers have included music-hall artistes Vesta Tilley, Little Tich and Hylda Baker. Painters who have lived here include Godfrey Kneller, John Millais and Burne-Jones, as well as architects George Dance, Pugin and Lutyens. Thomas Cook was one of several travel pioneers who made Bloomsbury their home. Those connected with science or medicine have included Henry Cavendish, pioneer of vaccination Edward Jenner and Charles Darwin. Several Bloomsbury residents have been champions of women's rights: Mary Wollstonecraft, Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett.
Contents include:

Diagram of the walks
List of of illustrations
Historical overview
Present street names and their originsDiagram of the walks 4 Route 1 13 Sources 115
Route 1, Around Bloomsbury Square
Route 2, Along and off New Oxford Street to the north
Route 3, Great Russell Street and Bedford Square via the British Museum
Route 4, Russell Square and adjacent streets
Route 5, Around the University precinct
Route 6, Gower Street and UCL
Route 7, Cubitt's Bloomsbury

The condition of the book is generally very good. The covers are clean and bright, the spine is tight and intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.