Bloomsbury
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Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London.[2][3] It is considered a fashionable residential area, and is the location of numerous cultural, intellectual, and educational institutions.[4] It is bounded by Fitzrovia to the west, Covent Garden to the south, St. Pancras to the north, and Clerkenwell to the east.

Bloomsbury is home of the British Museum, the largest museum in the United Kingdom, and several educational institutions, including the University College London, the University of London, the New College of the Humanities, the University of Law, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and many others. Bloomsbury is an intellectual and literary hub for London, as home of world-known Bloomsbury Publishing, publishers of the Harry Potter series, and namesake of the Bloomsbury Set, a group of British intellectuals which included author Virginia Woolf and economist John Maynard Keynes.

Bloomsbury began to be developed in the 17th century under the Earls of Southampton,[5] but it was primarily in the 19th century, under the Duke of Bedford, that the district was planned and built as an affluent Regency era residential area by famed developer James Burton.[6] The district is known for its numerous garden squares, including Bloomsbury Square, Russell Square, and Tavistock Square, among others.[7]

History

The historic seat of the Royal Historical Society

Bloomsbury (including the closely linked St Giles area) has a long association with neighbouring Holborn; but is nearly always considered as distinct from Holborn.

The vicinity is first described in a charter of 959; the charter describes the bounds of a manor (estate) stretching from the River Tyburn to the Fleet, and referring to the "old wooden church of St Andrew", in Holborn, while a further charter of 1002 describes an extended manor which extended further north.[8] The geographical description, the reference to St Andrews church, Holborn and other details suggest that the extended estate was the origin for the manors of Holborn[9] and perhaps also Tottenham Court,[10] both described in the Domesday Book in 1086.

The area appears to have been a part of the parish, and perhaps also the manor, of Holborn when St Giles hospital was established in the early 1100s.[11]

The earliest record of the name, Bloomsbury, is from 1201, when William de Blemond, a Norman landowner, acquired the land.[12] The name Bloomsbury is a development from Blemondisberi - the bury, or manor, of Blemond. An 1878 publication, Old and New London: Volume 4, mentions the idea that the area was named after a village called "Lomesbury" which formerly stood where Bloomsbury Square is now,[13] though this etymology is now discredited.

At the end of the 14th century, Edward III acquired Blemond's manor, and passed it on to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse, who kept the area mostly rural.

In the 16th century with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII took the land back into the possession of the Crown and granted it to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton.

In the early 1660s, the Earl of Southampton constructed what eventually became Bloomsbury Square. The Yorkshire Grey public house on the corner of Gray's Inn Road and Theobald's Road dates from 1676. The area was laid out mainly in the 18th century, largely by landowners such as Wriothesley Russell, 3rd Duke of Bedford, who built Bloomsbury Market, which opened in 1730. The major development of the squares that we see today started in about 1800 when Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford removed Bedford House and developed the land to the north with Russell Square as its centrepiece.

Culture

Historically, Bloomsbury is associated with the arts, education, and medicine. The area gives its name to the Bloomsbury Group of artists, among whom was Virginia Woolf, who met in private homes in the area in the early 1900s,[14] and to the lesser known Bloomsbury Gang of Whigs formed in 1765 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. The publisher Faber & Faber used to be located in Queen Square, though at the time T. S. Eliot was editor the offices were in Tavistock Square. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in John Millais's parents' house on Gower Street in 1848.

The Bloomsbury Festival was launched in 2006 when local resident Roma Backhouse was commissioned to mark the re-opening of the Brunswick Centre, a residential and shopping area. The free festival is a celebration of the local area, partnering with galleries, libraries and museums,[15] and achieved charitable status at the end of 2012. As of 2013, the Duchess of Bedford is a festival patron and Cathy Mager is the Festival Director.[16][17]

Educational institutions

Bloomsbury is home to Senate House and the main library of the University of London, Birkbeck College, Institute of Education, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, School of Pharmacy, School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Royal Veterinary College and University College London (with the Slade School of Fine Art), a branch of the University of Law, London Contemporary Dance School, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and Goodenough College. Other colleges include the University of London's School of Advanced Study, the Architectural Association School of Architecture in Bedford Square, and the London campuses of several American colleges including Arcadia University, the University of California, University of Delaware, Florida State University, Syracuse University, New York University, and the Hult International Business School.

Also different kinds of tutoring institutions like Bloomsbury International for English Language, Bloomsbury Law Tutors for law education, Skygate Tutors and Topmark Tutors Centre contributing to grow the private tutoring sector in Bloomsbury.

Museums

The British Museum, which first opened to the public in 1759 in Montagu House, is at the heart of Bloomsbury. At the centre of the museum the space around the former British Library Reading Room, which was filled with the concrete storage bunkers of the British Library, is today the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, an indoor square with a glass roof designed by British architect Norman Foster. It houses displays, a cinema, a shop, a cafe and a restaurant. Since 1998, the British Library has been located in a purpose-built building just outside the northern edge of Bloomsbury, in Euston Road.

Also in Bloomsbury is the Foundling Museum, close to Brunswick Square, which tells the story of the Foundling Hospital opened by Thomas Coram for unwanted children in Georgian London. The hospital, now demolished except for the Georgian colonnade, is today a playground and outdoor sports field for children, called Coram's Fields. It is also home to a small number of sheep. The nearby Lamb's Conduit Street is a pleasant thoroughfare with shops, cafes and restaurants.

The Dickens Museum is in Doughty Street. The Petrie Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology are at University College London in Gower Street.

Churches

Bloomsbury contains several notable churches:

Geography

Bloomsbury has no official boundaries, but can be roughly defined as the square of territory bounded by Tottenham Court Road to the west, Euston Road to the north, Gray's Inn Road to the east, and either High Holborn or the thoroughfare formed by New Oxford Street, Bloomsbury Way and Theobalds Road to the south.[5] Bloomsbury merges gradually with Holborn in the south, with St Pancras and King's Cross in the north-east and with Clerkenwell in the south-east.

The area is bisected north to south by the main road Southampton Row/Woburn Place, which has several large tourist hotels and links Tavistock Square and Russell Square - the central points of Bloomsbury. The road runs from Euston and Somers Town in the north to Holborn in the south.

East of Southampton Row/Woburn Place are the Grade II listed Brunswick Centre, a residential and shopping centre,[22] and Coram's Fields children's recreation area. The area to the north of Coram's Fields consists mainly of blocks of flats, built as both private and social housing, which is often considered part of St Pancras[23] or King's Cross[24] rather than north-eastern Bloomsbury. The area to the south is generally less residential, containing several hospitals, including Great Ormond Street, and gradually becomes more commercial in character as it approaches Holborn at Theobald's Road.

The area west of Southampton Row/Woburn Place is notable for its concentration of academic establishments, museums, and formal squares. Here are the British Museum and the central departments and colleges of the University of London, including Birkbeck College, University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the University of London's School of Advanced Study. The main north-south road in west Bloomsbury is Gower Street which is a one-way street running south from Euston Road towards Shaftesbury Avenue in Covent Garden, becoming Bloomsbury Street when it passes to the west of the British Museum.

For street name etymologies see Street names of Bloomsbury.

Parks and squares

Bloomsbury contains some of London's finest parks and buildings, and is particularly known for its formal squares. These include:

Governance

Bloomsbury is in the parliamentary constituency of Holborn and St Pancras. The western half of the district comprises Bloomsbury ward, which elects three councillors to Camden Borough Council.

The area lay within the parishes of St Giles in the Fields and St George's, Bloomsbury,[25] which were absorbed into the St Giles District as part of the Metropolis Management Act 1855.[26] It is now controlled by the London Borough of Camden.

Economy

In February 2010, businesses were balloted on an expansion of the InHolborn Business Improvement District (BID) to include the southern part of Bloomsbury. Only businesses with a rateable value in excess of £60,000 could vote as only these would pay the BID levy. This expansion of the BID into Bloomsbury was supported by Camden Council.[27] The proposal was passed and part of Bloomsbury was brought within the InHolborn BID.[28]

Controversy was raised during this BID renewal when InHolborn proposed collecting Bloomsbury, St Giles and Holborn under the name of "Midtown", since it was seen as "too American".[29][30][31] Businesses were informed about the BID proposals, but there was little consultation with residents or voluntary organisations. InHolborn produced a comprehensive business plan aimed at large businesses.[32] Bloomsbury is now part of InMidtown BID with its 2010 to 2015 business plan and a stated aim to make the area "a quality environment In which to work and live, a vibrant area to visit, and a profitable place in which to do business".[33]

Hospitals

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (formerly the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital) are both located on Great Ormond Street, off Queen Square, which itself is home to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (formerly the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases). Bloomsbury is also the location of University College Hospital, which re-opened in 2005 in new buildings on Euston Road, built under the government's private finance initiative (PFI). The Eastman Dental Hospital is located on Gray's Inn Road close to the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital administered by the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust.

Transport

Rail

Several London railway stations serve Bloomsbury. There are three London Underground stations in Bloomsbury:

King's Cross St. Pancras station offers step-free access to all lines, whilst Euston Square offers step-free access to the westbound platform. Other stations nearby include: Euston, Warren Street, Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Chancery Lane. There is a disused station in Bloomsbury on the Piccadilly line at the British Museum.

There are also three National Rail stations to the north of Bloomsbury:

Eurostar services to France, Brussels and the Netherlands begin in London at St Pancras.[34][35]

Buses

Several bus stops can be found in Bloomsbury. All buses passing through Bloomsbury call at bus stops on Russell Square, Gower Street or Tottenham Court Road. Several key London destinations can be reached from Bloomsbury directly, including: Camden Town, Greenwich, Hampstead Heath, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria, and Waterloo. Euston bus station is to the north of Bloomsbury.[36][37]

Road

One of the 13 surviving taxi drivers' shelters in London, where drivers can stop for a meal and a drink, is in Russell Square.[38]

Bloomsbury's road network links the district to several destinations across London. Key routes nearby include:

Air pollution

The London Borough of Camden measures roadside air quality in Bloomsbury. In 2017, average Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels recorded in Bloomsbury significantly exceeded the UK National Objective for cleaner air, set at 40?g/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre).[39]

2017 Average NO2 Levels Recorded in Bloomsbury[39]
Location NO2 concentration (?g/m3)
Euston Road (Automatic) 83
Euston Road 92.45
Bloomsbury Street 80.67

Cycling

Several cycle routes cross Bloomsbury, with cycling infrastructure provided and maintained by both the London Borough of Camden and Transport for London (TfL). Many routes across Bloomsbury feature segregated cycle tracks or bus lanes for use by cyclists. Additionally, Bloomsbury is connected to the wider London cycle network via several routes, including:

Notable residents

Virginia Woolf, considered one of Britain's most important authors

References

  1. ^ "Camden Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Atkins, Peter J. "How the West End was won: the struggle to remove street barriers in Victorian London." Journal of Historical Geography 19.3 (1993): 265.
  3. ^ How the West End was won: the struggle to remove street barriers in Victorian London. Atkins, P J. Journal of Historical Geography; London Vol. 19, Iss. 3, (Jul 1, 1993): 265.
  4. ^ Senate House - 10 Reasons Why Bloomsbury is the Coolest Place
  5. ^ a b The London Encyclopaedia, Edited by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. Macmillan London Ltd 1983
  6. ^ Burton's St. Leonards, J. Manwaring Baines F.S.A., Hastings Museum , 1956.
  7. ^ Guide to London Squares Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  8. ^ both charters are outlined in - Citadel of the Saxons, the Rise of Early London. Rory Naismith, p131-132
  9. ^ link to an online Domesday translation https://opendomesday.org/place/TQ3181/holborn/
  10. ^ link to an online Domesday translation https://opendomesday.org/place/TQ2982/tottenham-court/
  11. ^ As St Giles to the west was part of Holborn, it is very probable that the core Bloomsbury area, between the two, was also part of Holborn at that time. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol1/pp204-212#h3-0010
  12. ^ Camden Council Local History Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  13. ^ 'Bloomsbury', Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 480-89 Date accessed: 8 March 2007
  14. ^ Fargis, Paul (1998). The New York Public Library Desk Reference - 3rd Edition. Macmillan General Reference. pp. 262. ISBN 0-02-862169-7.
  15. ^ "Preview: The Bloomsbury Festival". Londonist. Londonist. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ "History". Bloomsbury Festival. Bloomsbury Festival. October 2013. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ "The Team". Bloomsbury Festival. Bloomsbury Festival. October 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ Church of Christ the King Archived 6 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  19. ^ St George's Bloomsbury Archived 23 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  20. ^ Walking Literary London, Roger Tagholm, New Holland Publishers, 2001.
  21. ^ Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church History Page. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  22. ^ Brunswick Centre - Restoration Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  23. ^ View London. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  24. ^ Corams Fields Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  25. ^ Sir Walter Besant and Geraldine Edith Mitton, "Holborn and Bloomsbury: The Fascination of London". Adam & Charles Black, London, 1903. Retrieved 2010.
  26. ^ "London History - London, 1800-1913 - Central Criminal Court". www.oldbaileyonline.org. Retrieved 2010.
  27. ^ "Council supports proposed expansion of Business Improvement District inholborn accessed 13 March 2010". Camden.gov.uk. 9 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  28. ^ Bloomsbury, Holborn and St Giles business improvement district renewal ballot - announcement of result accessed 13 March 2010 Archived 6 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Bloomsbury regroups for a bright new future accessed 13 March 2010". Thisislondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  30. ^ "Holborn Midtown accessed 13 March 2010". Janeslondon.com. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  31. ^ Hill, Dave (25 January 2010). "Bid to re-brand Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles accessed 113 March 2010". Guardian. Retrieved 2010.
  32. ^ "IH_BID2010_document_061109:IH_BID2010_document" (PDF). Retrieved 2010.[dead link]
  33. ^ "Our Purpose". Midtown BID. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 2012.
  34. ^ "London St Pancras International". Eurostar. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019.
  35. ^ "London's Tube and Rail Services Map" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2019.
  36. ^ "Buses from Russell Square" (PDF). Transport for London. 24 November 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Buses from Goodge Street" (PDF). Transport for London. 17 June 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 April 2019.
  38. ^ Cabmen's Shelters. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  39. ^ a b "Air Quality Annual Status 2017". London Borough of Camden. 31 May 2018. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Quietway 1 (North): Covent Garden to Kentish Town" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2019.
  41. ^ "Quietway 2 (East): Bloomsbury to Walthamstow" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2019.
  42. ^ "Cycle Superhighway 6: King's Cross to Elephant & Castle" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2019.
  43. ^ Ada Ballin[permanent dead link], ODNB, Retrieved 6 October 2016
  44. ^ Mackail, Denis: The Story of J.M.B. Peter Davies, 1941
  45. ^ J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Act I. Hodder & Stoughton, 1928
  46. ^ Charles Darwin. Retrieved 8 March 2007.
  47. ^ London Remembers - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
  48. ^ ODNB: Lucy Peltz, "Lodge, Edmund (1756-1839)" Retrieved 11 March 2014
  49. ^ "Charlotte Mew". Poetry Foundation. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  50. ^ "In-Conference: Diana Collecott -- HOW2". www.asu.edu. Retrieved 2017.
  51. ^ Windows on Modernism: Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson, ed Gloria G, Fromm. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press 1995, p. xxx; The Dorothy Richardson Society web site [1].
  52. ^ Ronalds, B.F. (2016). Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 978-1-78326-917-4.
  53. ^ Alexei Sayle (8 October 2013). "Alexei Sayle: Bloomsbury by bike - video" (Video upload). The Guardian. Retrieved 2013.
  54. ^ Bushell, Peter (1983). London's Secret History. Constable. p. 179.

External links


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