Byng Place, WC1E

Place Name

Georgiana Elizabeth Byng (February 24, 1768 – October 11, 1801) was one of the seven children of statesman Sir George Byng, 4th Viscount Torrington, and Lucy Boyle. In 1786 in Brussels, Belgium she married local landowner John Russell, later the 6th Duke of Bedford. Their marriage lasted 15 years before her untimely death in Bath, Somerset, at the age of 33. The Duke remarried another Georgiana, Lady Gordon, 15 years his junior and with whom he went on to have 10 children, having had three with his first wife. After the Russell’s acquired Bloomsbury in 1669 they immediately started developing it – though this area remained largely undeveloped until the early 19thCentury. It is still fields on Cary’s map of 1795, but in 1832 three houses were built here by Thomas Cubitt. The UCL Bloomsbury Project explains: “It was built as a terrace of three houses, numbered consecutively from 1 to 3. It was designed to be residential housing for the well-to-do, but unfortunately coincided with the building slump. When the houses did not sell, the Bedford estate allowed them to be converted into a new home for Coward College.” The college moved out in 1850, and after that, the street became residential private houses for the first time. According to the 1861 census, its inhabitants then were a widowed oil seed broker and his family and servants at number 1; a metal assayer and his family and servants at number 3; and, the American rare book dealer Henry Steven at number 2.

 

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