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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury and the Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury People

What is the Bloomsbury Project?

The Leverhulme-funded UCL Bloomsbury Project was established to investigate 19th-century Bloomsbury’s development from swampy rubbish-dump to centre of intellectual life

Led by Professor Rosemary Ashton, with Dr Deborah Colville as Researcher, the Project has traced the origins, Bloomsbury locations, and reforming significance of hundreds of progressive and innovative institutions

Many of the extensive archival resources relating to these institutions have also been identified and examined by the Project, and Bloomsbury’s developing streets and squares have been mapped and described

This website is a gateway to the information gathered and edited by Project members during the Project’s lifetime, 1 October 2007–30 April 2011, with the co-operation of Bloomsbury’s institutions, societies, and local residents

Thomas Coates (c. 1802–1883)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was appointed first Clerk to the new University of London (later University College London) in December 1828 (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1828–1928, 1929)

He had trained as a solicitor with William Tooke, one of the founders of the University, in Tooke’s chambers in Bedford Row

Coates was promoted to Secretary of the University at a salary of £200 per annum in 1832, after the resignation of the Warden, Leonard Horner, who had been paid an inflated salary of £1,000 plus a housing allowance of £200 (Council Minutes, vol. II, 10 March and 4 June 1832, UCL Records Office)

Coates also acted as Secretary of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, founded in 1826 by many of the same men who established the University of London at the same time

The SDUK shared its office with the University, first at 7 Furnival’s Inn, then at 29 Percy Street from 1827 until 1830, when the University’s offices moved into its main building on Gower Street and the SDUK moved to 4 South Square, Gray’s Inn (Monica Grobel, ‘The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 1826–1846’, unpub. MA thesis, University of London, 1933)

In 1842, at Coates’s suggestion, the Society’s offices moved to 42 Bedford Square (Monica Grobel, ‘The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge 1826–1846’, unpub. MA thesis, University of London, 1933)

Coates remained as Secretary of the SDUK until it was wound up in March 1846

He resigned from the Secretaryship of the University of London in January 1835 in protest at the refusal of the Council to pay him the professional fees he had asked for in connection with extra work undertaken in preparing the University’s petition for a charter, which was finally granted in 1836 (College Collection A35, UCL Special Collections; Council Minutes, vol. II, 31 January 1835, UCL Records Office)

The 1861, 1871, and 1881 census records show him living at York House, Kensington, and still working as a “Parliamentary agent” at the age of 79 in the last of these, when he had become a widower after the death of his wife, Harriett

He died in late 1883 in Kensington, aged 81; The Times noted the value of his estate at his death as over £46,000 (The Times, 16 February 1884)

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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