The Bloomsbury Project

Rosemary Ashton


For a century, Bloomsbury has been celebrated as the home of the ‘Bloomsbury Group’ of writers and artists in the early decades of the twentieth century. The UCL Leverhulme-funded Bloomsbury Project, ‘Bloomsbury and Reform in the Nineteenth Century’, is dedicated to the study of the area before this group settled there. A striking number of pioneering nineteenthcentury institutions are to be found in the space bounded by Tottenham Court Road in the west, Euston Road to the north, Gray’s Inn Road to the east, and New Oxford Street to the south. Why and how so many centres of learning emerged in the immediate area of the British Museum (founded in 1753 but much extended in the nineteenth century), turning Bloomsbury into an intellectual powerhouse, are questions the project addresses. The beginning and end dates are 1800, when Francis Russell, fifth Duke of Bedford, obtained two acts of Parliament to develop his Bloomsbury estate, and 1904, when Virginia Stephen, later Woolf, moved into the area after the death of her father Leslie Stephen, so beginning the ‘Bloomsbury Group’.

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