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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings


Estates in Bloomsbury

1 Duke of Bedford
2 City of London Corporation
3 Capper Mortimer
4 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton)
5 Somers
6 Skinners' (Tonbridge)
7 Battle Bridge
8 Lucas
9 Harrison
10 Foundling Hospital
11 Rugby
12 Bedford Charity (Harpur)
13 Doughty
14 Gray's Inn
15 Bainbridge–Dyott (Rookeries)

Area between the Foundling and Harrison estates: Church land

Grey areas: fragmented ownership and haphazard development; already built up by 1800

Area of fragmented ownership

The area extending north from High Holborn east of the Bedford estate boundary at Southampton Row and King Street, being nearer to the city of London, was developed much earlier than the fields to its north

The major landowners in the east of this area were Gray’s Inn, and the Bedford Charity, Doughty, and Rugby estates, all of which also began developing their land in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century

Nicholas Barbon, who was the first major speculative builder in the area, laid out Red Lion Square itself as well as many of the streets further north and east; it is not clear who owned the land of Red Lion Fields on which the Square was built

To its north, Queen Square and surrounding land was part of an estate owned by the Curzons of Kedleston, Derbyshire, also developed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, but sold off by about 1779 to pay off debts

Queen Square and Red Lion Square in particular, as well as the smaller streets in the area around them, thus became attractive locations in the nineteenth century to institutions which would have found it more difficult to establish themselves on the surrounding estates with their restrictions on non-residential and commercial tenants

Along the borders of Bloomsbury, the increasing importance of Euston Road, Gray’s Inn Road, High Holborn, and Tottenham Court Road as through traffic routes meant that they became more unified and coherent as streets, despite the multiplicity of estates whose land they had originally incorporated; as their residential significance to those estates waned, so they too became easier targets for institutions

Queen Square Place

Also known as Brunswick Court/Brunswick Place/Brunswick Row

Not to be confused — although it frequently is — with the Queen’s Square Place in Westminster which was home to Jeremy Bentham during his later life

It was in the centre of Bloomsbury, leading west from the northwest corner of Queen Square through to Southampton Row

It appears on Horwood’s map of 1799, although it is not named; it had been developed in the early eighteenth century on land owned by the Earl of Salisbury

On Horwood’s map of 1819 it appears as Brunswick Place; presumably this and its variants were named after Caroline of Brunswick, wife of the Prince Regent, and later (briefly and controversially) Queen Caroline on his accession as George IV in 1820

It appears as Brunswick Row on Weller’s map of 1868, and on Stanford’s map of 1875

Its name was changed to Brunswick Court and subsequently to Queen Square Place in the 1890s

No numbers appear on Horwood’s map of 1819

In the early nineteenth century it was a very desirable address

The rich bookseller Charles Dilly lived here from about 1802, five years before his death (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 2 became in 1857 the home of Antoine-Théophile Marzials, newly-appointed pastor of the French Protestant church at St Martin's-le-Grand, and his wife Mary Ann (née Jackson); their son, poet, songwriter, and British Museum library assistant Theo Marzials was brought up here (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 1 was acquired by the expanding House of Relief for Children with Chronic Disease of the Joints (Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease) in the 1880s; this, along with the Hospital’s other properties in Queen Square, was demolished in 1899 to make way for a purpose-built hospital building

In the twentieth century it ignominiously became the goods entrance to the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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