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Bloomsbury, London - Guide

Bloomsbury - General Information

Bedford Square Bloomsbury- Photo by Steve Cadman

Bedford Square Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is a fashionable area in the Camden district of London. Famed for its garden squares and literary connections, the area is also home to some of London's great institutions such as the British Museum, University College London and the British Medical Association. The area of Bloomsbury has attracted many creative minds over the years with former residents such as Charles Darwin, John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf and Bob Marley.

Bloomsbury History

Bloomsbury was developed by the Russell family (hence Russell Square) in the 17th and 18th centuries. The area plan was based around formal garden squares and this has become the defining feature of the district. The area has no official boundaries but is normally considered to be bounded by Tottenham Court Road to the West, Gray’s Inn Road to the West, Euston Road to the North and Theobald’s Road to the South.

Bloomsbury Group

The area’s literary connections stem from the Bloomsbury Group, a bohemian movement which existed between the turn of the 20th Century and the start of World War Two. The movement rejected the stiff social restraints of the Victorian and Edwardian society and advocated greater liberalism and freedoms. Key members of the movement included Virginia Woolf , John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster. The literary spirit lives on in Bloomsbury with numerous independent book sellers and the main offices of the publishing house Faber in Queen’s Square.

Bloomsbury's Institutions

Bloomsbury is home to the British Museum, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the British Medical Association and University College London, to name but a few.

The British Museum

The British Museum- Photo by Steve Cadman

The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the world’s great collections. It hold over 13 million objects from all the continents documenting human culture since the beginning of time.

The museum opened in 1753 in Montagu House, on the site of the present museum. Over the next 250 years, the museum buildings were extended and the collections considerably augmented. Until 1997, the museum was also home to the British Library, which moved to new premises near St. Pancras Station on Euston Road. The museum charges no admission fee but certain special exhibitions may incur some charge. The best underground stations for the museum are: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Russell Square.

University College London

University College London- Photo by Steve Cadman

University College London

University College London was founded in 1826 as London University as a secular alternative to the religious universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It has become one of the nations top higher education institutions and is recognised worldwide. The university’s main building was built by the architect William Wilkins who also designed the National Gallery. There are several important university museums: the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy and extensive art collections. Euston Square and Warren Street underground stations are the best for visiting University College London.

Text written by David Cunningham, author of CloudWorld and CloudWorld At War

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