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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 William Newman (1805–1897)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was the younger brother of John Henry Newman, and was born in Bloomsbury, at 17 Southampton Street

After a brilliant undergraduate career at Oxford, Newman moved away from Anglicanism, giving up his fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford, and becoming first a Baptist in 1836 and later a non-aligned believer in the individual nature of faith (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

After teaching classics for six years at Manchester New College, the leading institution for the training of dissenting ministers, Newman was appointed in 1846 to the Chair of Latin at University College London

He was known for his brilliance, especially in several languages, and for his strong support for the causes of Italian and Hungarian freedom.

He was precise and somewhat pedantic in his communications with University College Council, informing them in a written report on his Latin classes in December 1846 that “the attendance was good & punctual (with occasional absence caused by indisposition) until the snow, & then the skating began; which have not conduced to regularity in study or in attendance” (Francis William Newman to Council, 23 December 1846, College Correspondence 1846, UCL Special Collections)

In February 1848 he was appointed the first Principal of University Hall, a Hall of Residence founded and financed by a group of dissenters, many of them associated with University College, for the purpose of offering accommodation to the University’s students

The Hall was built on the west side of Gordon Square during 1848 and 1849; on 20 July 1848 Newman made a speech at the laying of the foundation stone, but by November 1848 he had resigned, complaining that he and his wife had not been properly consulted about their living quarters (University Hall Minute Book, vol. II, MS 12.83)

He was replaced as Principal by Arthur Hugh Clough

Newman gave lectures at the Ladies’ College in Bedford Square, opened in 1849 by Elisabeth Jesser Reid; one of his students there was Marian Evans, later to become famous as George Eliot, who studied geometry with him in January 1851; she recalled 'the awe I had of him as a lecturer on mathematics at the Ladies' College' (The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, 1954–1955, vols. 1 and 6)

Newman continued as Professor of Latin at University College until 1862, when he resigned his post and moved to Bristol

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

This page last modified 16 November, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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