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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings


Estates in Bloomsbury

1 Duke of Bedford
2 City of London Corporation
3 Capper Mortimer
4 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton)
5 Somers
6 Skinners' (Tonbridge)
7 Battle Bridge
8 Lucas
9 Harrison
10 Foundling Hospital
11 Rugby
12 Bedford Charity (Harpur)
13 Doughty
14 Gray's Inn
15 Bainbridge–Dyott (Rookeries)

Area between the Foundling and Harrison estates: Church land

Grey areas: fragmented ownership and haphazard development; already built up by 1800

Area of fragmented ownership

The area extending north from High Holborn east of the Bedford estate boundary at Southampton Row and King Street, being nearer to the city of London, was developed much earlier than the fields to its north

The major landowners in the east of this area were Gray’s Inn, and the Bedford Charity, Doughty, and Rugby estates, all of which also began developing their land in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century

Nicholas Barbon, who was the first major speculative builder in the area, laid out Red Lion Square itself as well as many of the streets further north and east; it is not clear who owned the land of Red Lion Fields on which the Square was built

To its north, Queen Square and surrounding land was part of an estate owned by the Curzons of Kedleston, Derbyshire, also developed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, but sold off by about 1779 to pay off debts

Queen Square and Red Lion Square in particular, as well as the smaller streets in the area around them, thus became attractive locations in the nineteenth century to institutions which would have found it more difficult to establish themselves on the surrounding estates with their restrictions on non-residential and commercial tenants

Along the borders of Bloomsbury, the increasing importance of Euston Road, Gray’s Inn Road, High Holborn, and Tottenham Court Road as through traffic routes meant that they became more unified and coherent as streets, despite the multiplicity of estates whose land they had originally incorporated; as their residential significance to those estates waned, so they too became easier targets for institutions

King’s Road

Also known as King’s Way/Theobald’s Road

Not to be confused with King’s Row, Mayfair, or King’s Road, Chelsea

It was originally part of a private royal field road out of London in the seventeenth century, continuing from Kingsgate Street and Theobald’s Road

The part running east from Bedford Row to Gray’s Inn Road was known as King’s Road until 1878, when it was merged into Theobald’s Road

No. 2 King’s Road (now 14 Theobald’s Road) held the consulting room of physician and vegetarian William Lambe in the early nineteenth century; most of his patients were poor (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 3 King’s Road was the premises of solicitors Meggison, Pringle, and Manisty in the 1830s (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 6 King’s Road (now no. 22 Theobald’s Road) was the family home from 1802 of Isaac D’Israeli and his wife Maria (née Basevi); their five children were born here, including their son, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, in 1804, before the family moved to Bloomsbury Square in 1817 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It became part of Theobald’s Road in 1878

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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