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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

Francis Cox (1783–1853)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was a Baptist minister in Hackney who had graduated from Edinburgh University

He was prominent in the founding of the University of London (later University College London)

He was appointed Librarian in July 1827, and was paid £200 a year from the opening of the University in October 1828 until the Council of the University decided to reduce expenditure by doing away with the position at the end of 1831 (Annual Report 1832, UCL Records Office)

Cox had been the leader of a group of dissenters, mostly clergymen, who had begun to plan a dissenting university late in 1824, at the same time that Thomas Campbell, Henry Brougham, and others were meeting to discuss the establishment of a metropolitan university which would be open to students of all faiths and none

Some joint meetings were held between the two groups in the spring of 1825, the upshot being that after a struggle by the independent ministers to make it a dissenting college, Campbell’s determination to have “no church influence” of any kind prevailed (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

The original dissenting group split: the celebrated Scottish preacher Edward Irving dropped out, believing that the new institution would be positively hostile to religion, while Cox, with Henry Waymouth, Thomas Wilson, and one of the three purchasers of the land for the new University, Benjamin Shaw, agreed to join forces with Campbell and Brougham

Henry Waymouth, Wilson, and Shaw were members of the first Council of the University; Cox was prohibited from being on Council by a rule against having clergymen on that body (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

In May 1828 three Professors who were also Church of England clergymen – Thomas Dale, Dionysius Lardner, and John Williams – requested permission to open a chapel and theological institute in the neighbourhood of the University for Anglican students (Council Minutes, vol. I, 15 May 1828, UCL Records Office)

In response, Cox and Rev. Joseph Fletcher, a Nonconformist minister in Stepney, petitioned the University Council for permission to teach theology to Nonconformists, also at a location outside the University; both were reluctantly permitted to do so (Council Minutes, vol. I, 3 July 1828, UCL Records Office)

For more general biographical information about Francis Augustus Cox, see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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