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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

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was best known, along with his contemporaries Alfred Tennyson and Matthew Arnold, as a poet of troubled religious faith and unsettled opinions

A brilliant student at Rugby School under Dr Thomas Arnold and at Oxford, Clough resigned his Fellowship at Oriel College in October 1848 because of doubts about the 39 Articles of the Church of England, which he had signed as a condition of taking up the Fellowship (Clough to Edward Hawkins, Provost of Oriel College, 8 October 1848, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser, 1957)

In November 1848 he came second to Alexander John Scott in the competition for the Chair of English Language and Literature at University College London (University College London Council Minutes, vol. IV, 4 November 1848, UCL Records Office)

When the founders of University Hall, a Hall of Residence for University College students being built in Gordon Square, needed to appoint a Principal who would live in the Hall when it opened in October 1849, they chose Clough (Arthur Hugh Clough to Tom Arnold, 27 November 1848, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser, 1957)

Clough took up residence in the Principal’s quarters, a suite of eight rooms on two floors of University Hall, in October 1849 (Anthony Kenny, Arthur Hugh Clough: A Poet’s Life, 2005)

Though he had given up Anglicanism, Clough was not sympathetic to the dissenting religion – mainly Unitarianism – of the founders and managers of University Hall ; there was friction between him and the Council of the Hall as he refused to take daily prayers (Arthur Hugh Clough to Philip Le Breton, 4 January 1849, and to the Committee of University Hall, 13 January 1849, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser, 1957; Arthur Hugh Clough to Edwin Field, [January 1849], MS Add 145, UCL Special Collections)

Not enough students enrolled to keep the Hall financially stable; Clough, who complained to friends that he found his situation “under a set of mercantile Unitarians…in no way charming”, was unwilling to make any efforts to increase the numbers, and by the end of November 1851 he had resigned, to the relief of all sides (Arthur Hugh Clough to Tom Arnold, 16 May 1848, to the Council of Management, University Hall, 30 October 1850, and to Richard Martineau, 12 December 1851, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser, 1957)

Though the Council of University Hall offered to let him stay on in rooms in the Hall until he left London in the summer of 1852, Clough moved into lodgings at 7 Caroline Street before leaving London in October 1852 to try his luck in America

Since January 1851 Clough had combined his role as Principal of University Hall with the Professorship of English Language and Literature at University College, to which he was appointed at his second attempt in December 1850, when Scott left to become Principal of the newly founded Owens College in Manchester (UCL Council Minutes, vol. IV, 7 December 1850, UCL Records Office)

He continued in this Chair until the end of the 1851–1852 session, resigning in August 1852 (UCL Council Minutes, vol. IV, 7 August 1852, UCL Records Office)

As Professors at University College were paid a proportion of the fees brought by their students, and few students enrolled for English at this time (no more than 35 in any year until 1857; see UCL Annual Report for 1857–1858, UCL Records Office), Clough’s earnings from the post were a mere £30 (Arthur Hugh Clough to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 17 June 1852, The Correspondence of Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. Frederick L. Mulhauser, 1957)

Clough was by this time engaged to Blanche Smith; he thought he might have a better chance of making a career and thus being enabled to get married by trying life in America

After nine months in Boston, where he once more tried and failed to find a congenial position, he returned to London to marry and take up an examinership in the Education Office

For more general biographical information about Arthur Hugh Clough, see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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