Bloomsbury derives its name from
'Blemondisberi', meaning 'the manor of (William) Blemond',
who acquired the land in the early-13th century.
The area remained mainly rural
until 1661, when the 4th Earl of Southampton built Southampton
(now Bloomsbury) Square around his house. The construction
of Bloomsbury Square marked the start of a trend and many
more followed including Bedford
Square (laid out in 1775 - 80) and the much larger
Square (added in 1800).
In 1780 anti-Catholic Gordon
rioters burned down the town house of the Lord Chief Justice
in Bloomsbury Square.
None of the original buildings
of Bloomsbury Square survive and today its shady garden, graced
by a statue of statesman Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806),
is encircled by a noisy one-way traffic system.
The square has had many famous
residents but is most closely associated with the the literary
and artistic 'Bloomsbury Group'. Many members of the
group lived in the area in the early decades of the 20th century,
including artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Dora Carrington,
biographer Lytton Strachey and novelist Virginia Wolf.
Individual blue plaques commemorating
the members of the Bloomsbury Group can be seen throughout