Bloomsbury, the London borough that Virginia Woolf (and others) loved – SiViaggia

If you’re planning a trip to London, don’t miss out on visiting the Bloomsbury area. It is located in the center and is part of the borough of Camden.

It is one of the most historic districts of London, much loved by Virginia Woolf who, with other intellectuals, founded the Bloomsbury Group, traces of which still stand today, but where Charles Dickens, Darwin and many other artists and thinkers also passed.

Sandwiched between some of London’s most picturesque squares, between Russell Square, Bedford Square and Bloomsbury Square itself, which gives its name to the whole area, among hidden gardens, tree-lined avenues, Victorian buildings and small shops. Visit.

Bloomsbury Historic District

Bloomsbury is named after the Norman-born landowner William de Bellemond, who purchased this area in 1201. Until the mid-seventeenth century it remained largely agricultural, but after 1660, Earl of Southampton He built what was to become the present-day Bloomsbury Square, in the center of which today stands a beautiful park frequented by “good” Londoners.

This square has been the center of many historical and literary events and has many stories to tell. The house in which the Count lived (Southampton House, then Bedford House and today Bedford Place) still overlooks Bloomsbury Square. At No. 6 is the building in which the writer Isaac Dasraeli, father of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, lived between 1817 and 1829. At No. 17 in 1880 the Aristotelian Society was founded, which today still organizes conferences at Britain’s most prestigious universities.

To date, only a few 18th-century houses remain, but there are buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, where the London bourgeoisie once moved, which now house various offices.

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Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury

However, Bloomsbury has long been associated with the arts, university studies, and medicine and is considered the literary and artistic district of London. Many of the University of London’s colleges and facilities are located there. But above all, there is the British Museum (Great Russell Street), opened to the public in 1759 in Montague House, in the heart of Bloomsbury. The museum is free.

Bloomsbury is also the bookstore district. There are many of them, and they are well worth a visit to soak up the neighborhood atmosphere that has inspired so many intellectuals throughout history. It is in one of these, located in Lamb’s Conduit Street, that the recent novel “The Girls of the Bloomsbury Library” by Natalie Jenner is set, which tells how the power of books and literature runs through the microcosm of the Bloomsbury Library.

the Bloomsbury Group, a small circle to which Virginia Woolf belonged in the early 20th century used to meet in private homes in the area. The author herself stated: “All the people I respect and admire most belong to Bloomsbury”. Woolf met her husband, Leonard, on the set of Bloomsbury. Together with their sister Vanessa, who was a painter, and her husband Clive Bell, a Post-Impressionist painter, and art critic Roger Fry, they helped establish their ideas and art around the world. Great Britain.

If you look closely, you can still see many traces of the lives of these bohemians. Blue plaques on building facades indicate where members of the group live. Some lived for a time in nearby Gordon Square. Bertrand Russell – who founded the neighborhood Russell Square which is also part of Bloomsbury – lived at number 57, Leighton Strachey at number 51, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Keynes and the Wolff family at number 46. Strachey, Dora Carrington and Lydia Lopokova (Kennes’ wife) lived for a time at number 41, Virginia and Leonard also lived at number 29 Near Fitzroy Square for four years.

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From Dickens to Bob Marley

There were many artists, scholars and intellectuals who lived in the Bloomsbury area. Author Charles Dickens, author of books such as The Adventures of Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and many classics of English literature, lived in Tavistock House on Tavistock Square, a building still easily recognizable today by the blue plaque affixed to the facade. Here he wrote some of his most famous works. Not far from here, on Doughty Street, where his home was for a few years, is the Dickens Museum, which houses some of his stories and personal items.

Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution, lived at 115 Gower Street, a stone’s throw from Gordon Square. Also in this case, the blue plate indicates the place for visitors.

Among the neighborhood’s newest residents was Bob Marley, the father of reggae, who in 1972 lived in a flat in a Victorian building at 34 Ridgmount Gardens in Bloomsbury for about six months (sold in 2021 for €2m), before moving into her home. Permanent at 42 Oakley Street in Chelsea. But this is another trip.


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