Bloomsbury Way, WC1A

Place Name

The local area was already well developed by the time that the 3rd Duke of Bedford opened Bloomsbury Market on Barter Street in 1730 to serve the district. This street was built to connect the market with Bloomsbury Square, and was known at first as Hart Street. On a 1746 map it is shown running between Southampton Row (then King Street) and Museum Street (then Queen Street), from where the route continued west to Tottenham Court Road via a number of smaller streets, many of which were demolished during the mid-19thCentury slum clearance projects which finally rid the city of St Giles’s Rookery. Hart Street now flowed into New Oxford Street. It was renamed Bloomsbury Way in the early 20thCentury, and today forms part of the A40, the 1923 route between the City of London and Fishguard, Wales, though much of its length has been altered and superseded by motorways. The name Bloomsbury itself was first introduced in 1201 when William de Blemond (or Blemund), a Norman landowner acquired the land, it is a development from Blemondisberi – literally the bury, or manor, of Blemond. Gillian Bebbington in London Street Names says that de Blemond was the brother of an eminent Anglo-Norman City merchant called Gervase, who owned a large mansion near Cornhill; hence the family name Belmont, which means Corn Hill. It has also been suggested that the family took their name from the area of Blemont in France. Either way, the estate stretched from modern Euston Road to High Holborn, and west to east from Tottenham Court Road to Southampton Row. The house at Bedford Place survived up until 1801. Development of the area began under the earls of Southampton who acquired the land in 1545 and continued under the dukes of Bedford in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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