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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

Richard Holt Hutton (1826–1897)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was born in Leeds, the son of a Unitarian minister

He went to University College School in 1835, moving on to University College London, where he studied Philosophy and Mathematics

During his time at University College, Hutton won prizes and certificates in Latin, Greek, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and Comparative Grammar (UCL Annual Report, 1844, UCL Records Office)

In 1843 he founded, with his friend Walter Bagehot, the University College Debating Society (The Collected Works of Walter Bagehot, ed. Norman St John-Stevas, vol. XIV, 1986)

He graduated in 1845, winning the University of London’s scholarship in Mathematics at his final examination (UCL Annual Report, 1846, UCL Records Office)

From 1845 to 1847 he studied in Bonn and Heidelberg before going to Manchester to train for the Unitarian ministry at Manchester New College

He did not practise, however, and in November 1849 was appointed Vice-Principal of University Hall, the newly-opened Hall of Residence for University College London students founded by Unitarians in Gordon Square (University Hall Minute Book, 23 November 1849, vol. II, MS 12.83, Dr Williams’s Library)

The first Principal of the Hall, Arthur Hugh Clough, had declined to take daily prayers, so Hutton took on that task, as well as tutoring students of the Hall in mathematics

When Clough resigned as Principal at the end of 1851, Hutton was appointed in his place (University Hall Minute Book, 23 December 1851, vol. III, MS 12.84, Dr Williams’s Library)

But in June 1852 ill health forced him to resign and go abroad to recover his health in the West Indies

Henry Crabb Robinson, a member of University Hall Council, noted in his diary that “young Hutton’s serious illness is a melancholy event – in some measure a confirmation of what Dr Boott predicted some years ago when he was winning all the prizes at University College School and the Doctor predicted that he would kill himself by overwork unless kept from study, which his father was not able to effect” (Diary of Henry Crabb Robinson, 30 June 1852, MS Dr Williams’s Library)

Hutton later became a celebrated reviewer and editor

In the memoir he wrote for the posthumous publication of Bagehot’s Literary Studies (1878), he remembered their time together at University College:

“I first met Bagehot at University College, London, when we were neither of us over seventeen… I am not at all sure that University College, London, was not at that time a much more awakening place of education for young men than almost any Oxford college… Gower Street, and Oxford Street, and the New Road, and the dreary chain of squares from Euston to Bloomsbury, were the scenes of discussions as eager and as abstract as ever were the sedate cloisters or the flowery river-meadows of Cambridge and Oxford”
(The Collected Works of Walter Bagehot, ed. Norman St John-Stevas, vol. XV, 1986)

For more general biographical information about Richard Holt Hutton, see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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