The Bartlett


Queer Bloomsbury Tour

The Queer Bloomsbury Tour is an open-access, self-guided tour that takes a wander through the neighbourhood’s queer past and present.

Queer Tour of Bloomsbury image of UCL portico with various graphic shapes laid overtop the photo in pink, red, brown, purple, blue, yellow, black and orange

About the tour

The Queer Bloomsbury Tour traverses ways in which sexual and gender non-conformity, as well as race, class, and colonialism, have animated Bloomsbury's landscape. You’ll encounter familiar figures and sites (e.g. the Bloomsbury Group, philosopher Jeremy Bentham, artists Derek Jarman and Maggie Hambling, and the iconic Gay’s the Word bookshop), as well as people, places, and practices that have shaped Bloomsbury’s queer life yet are often overlooked. These include Victorian ‘cross-dressers’ Fanny and Stella; Jamaican migrant to Britain, Patrick Nelson; the much-loved women’s venue, The Glass Bar; and cruising in the neighbourhood's squares and cottages.

The self-guided tour is adapted by Lo Marshall on behalf of B.Queer, from Hide and Seek: A Queer Tour of Bloomsbury, which was devised by Bob Mills during his time as director of qUCL (2015-2018).

The audio tour is narrated by (in order of appearance): Stamatis Zografos, Maxwell Mutanda, Leah Lovett, Sebastian Buser, Jordana Ramalho, Ben Campkin, Bob Mills, and Steph Tari Odu.

How to take the tour

The tour has eight stops in total. Each stop is between five and ten minutes long. The tour route covers approximately 1.5 miles and usually takes 80-90 minutes to complete.  

The self-guided tour materials for each stop are available below as audio recordings and written texts. There is also a map with written directions and an online map to help you find your way.  

Please use these materials to create a self-guided tour that fits your needs: 

  • You could take a walk around Bloomsbury with the audio guides for company.   
  • You might like to arrange a small group to follow the tour together and take it in turns to read the texts for each stop.  
  • You’re welcome to use the tour as part of your teaching on queer histories and may find the Resource List helpful for this. 

Tour materials

Map and directions

Access the Queer Tour of Bloomsbury map and directions PDF.

Access the Queer Tour of Bloomsbury Google Map.

Scan the QR code below to access the online map:

Queer of Bloomsbury Tour QR code to Google Map of tour https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=183EZtFiCAXO7dbI6uscVFClDdw-NvLI&ehbc=2E312F&ll=51.52431407343072%2C-0.12877000000000027&z=14
Key sources and further information

Access the Queer Tour of Bloomsbury: Key sources and further information PDF.

This document includes key sources that inform the tour materials as well as further resources that you might like to use to learn more about the site, subject and themes covered at each stop. 

Tour guide

Stop 1: Introduction

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/4jJB6C0iAccess transcript

Audio guide: Stamatis Zografos, Lecturer in architectural history and theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL 

Stop 2: Russell Square

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/cajh4HbGAccess transcript

Audio guide: Maxwell Mutanda, Lecturer in Environmental and Spatial Equity and Co-Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. 

Stop 3: The Bloomsbury Group

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/C28jdHC2Access transcript

Audio guide: Leah Lovett, Senior Research Fellow, The Bartlett Centre for Advances Spatial Analysis, UCL 

Stop 4: Fanny & Stella

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/E10h319iAccess transcript

Audio guide: Sebastian Buser, PhD candidate at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL 

Stop 5: Gay's the Word

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/C1Dj9hb7Access transcript

Audio guide: Jordana Ramalho, Associate Professor at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL 

Stop 6: The Glass Bar & Euston Road

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/d0ah2e0cAccess transcript

Audio guide: Ben Campkin, Professor of Urbanism and Urban History at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Vice-Dean for Public and City Engagement for The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL 

Stop 7: The Slade School of Fine Art

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/3ccd97IhAccess transcript

Audio guide: Bob Mills, Professor of Medieval Studies in the UCL History of Art Department, UCL 

Stop 8: UCL Student Centre

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/ID7ic2EjAccess transcript

Audio guide: Steph Tari Odu, an artist, filmmaker and UCL Urban Studies alumni. 


Written by Bob Mills, Professor of Medieval Studies in the UCL History of Art Department, UCL  and Lo Marshall, Senior Research Fellow in Bartlett Faculty, Tutor and Ethics Co-director at the Bartlett School of Architecture, 2024.

Copy-editing by All Things Words, with additional copy-editing by Leah Lovett and Ben Campkin.

Audio recording and productions by Steph Tari Odu on behalf of Born by a River Films, with additional editing by Lo Marshall.

The production of the self-guided tour is funded by UCL’s LGBTQ+ Equality Implementation Group (LEIG) Fund.