Gower Place, WC1E

Place Name

This street in the north of Bloomsbury is named after Gertrude Leveson-Gower (February 15, 1715 – July 1, 1794), the wife of local landowner John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, and one of the prime instigators in the residential development of Bloomsbury in the late 18thCentury. Gower was the eldest daughter of politician John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower, and his wife, the former Lady Evelyn Pierrepont. She married Russell, whose family had owned Bloomsbury since 1669, in 1737 and had two children by him. This part of the Russell estate remained marshy fields with a stream running through it, as seen on John Rocque’s map of 1746, until the late 18thCentury, when it was transformed into a restricted upper-middle class suburb. Much of the development took the form of the widening of streets and laying out of squares. This street was built by Gower’s grandson, Francis Russell, the 5th Duke, who continued his grandmother’s work during the early 19thCentury, laying out and developing the area around Russell Square. In 1841, the street’s inhabitants, as listed in the Post Office Directory, included John Pierotti, maker of plaster figures, a mason, a sculptor, two bakers, several tailors and dressmakers, two bookbinders, the Haywarden Castle pub, a piano maker and a maker of window blinds. It was almost entirely rebuilt in the 20thCentury.

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