Bedford Way, WC1H


Local landowners, the Dukes of Bedford, inherited Bloomsbury in 1669 and immediately started developing the land. Up until 1801, the family town house, the eponymous Bedford House, overlooked the north side of Bloomsbury Square (today’s Bedford Place). On Horwood’s revised plan of London, dated 1819, this street appears partially laid out, as Upper Bedford Place, and provided access to the recently-established Russell Square, laid out by Francis Russell, the 5th Duke of Bedford. The Bloomsbury holdings of the dukes of Bedford had originated as the estate of Thomas Wriothesley, later Earl of Southampton, who acquired them at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1545. Russell, and his grandmother,¬†Gertrude Leveson-Gower, the widow of the 4th duke are considered to be the prime instigators in its residential development, which began in the late-18thCentury and continued through the 19thCentury. Bloomsbury was transformed from being an area of relatively unimportant farmland to a restricted middle to upper class district.



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