The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 18 Bloomsbury and Districts to the North


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18. BLOOMSBURY AND DISTRICTS TO THE NORTH. Hampstead Road. Euston Road. Gray's Inn Road. STATIONS: Tottenham Court Road and British Museum on the Central London Railway. From south to north this region is traversed by the Hampstead Tube, with the stations of Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street, Warren Street, and Euston, and by the Piccadilly Tube, with the stations of Holborn, Russell Square, and King's Cross, Euston Square Station on the Metropolitan Railway; Euston and King's Cross on the City & South London Tube. - OMNIBUSES in Tottenham Court Road, Nos. 1, 14, 24, 29, 39, 73; in Southampton Row, Nos. 44, 68, 77; in Theobald's Road, Nos. 19, 38; in Euston Road, Nos. 14, 18, 30, 44, 73, 77. To the north of New Oxford St. and High Holborn, and bounded on the west by Tottenham Court Road and on the east by Gray's Inn Road, lies the district of Bloomsbury, a region of formal streets and many squares, dating mainly from the 18th and early 19th centuries. At one time a fashionable and even aristocratic quarter, about a century ago it was the characteristic abode of commercial opulence, when the Osbornes and Sedleys of Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair' occupied houses in Russell Square. In Bloomsbury are many lodging-houses and private hotels, much patronized by visitors to London, especially by those who desire to be near the British Museum in its south-west corner. Its literary and historical associations are many. TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD, which skirts Bloomsbury on the west, is a long, bustling, and somewhat Philistine street, noted for its furniture-dealers and traversed by continuous omnibuses. Here, and in the humbler side streets, George Gissing places the scenes of his 'New Grub Street.' At the corner of Great Russell St., the first turning on the right, rises the large building (by Rowland Plumbe) of the London Central Young Men's Christian Association, erected as the successor of Exeter Hall, in the Strand, with ample club and residential accommodation, a business-college, a hall for meetings (St. George's Hall), and a restaurant (open to the public). Since 1915 this building has contained the headquarters of the association for the whole British Empire. During the War the Y.M.C.A. rendered magnificent national service by providing innumerable recreation centres and huts for soldiers, sailors, and munition workers both at home and abroad. In Great Russell St., which leads to the British Museum (Walk 37), tablets mark the houses once occupied by the Pugins, architects (No. 106), and by Topham and Lady Diana Beauclerk (No. 99), and in this street were probably Shelley's last lodgings in London. About + mile farther on Goodge St. diverges on the left, leading to the Middlesex Hospital and crossing Whitfield St. and Charlotte St., in which a foreign element is very apparent. Beyond Goodge Street Station in Tottenham Court Road is Whitefield's Tabernacle, built in 1899, the modern successor of the chapel erected on this site in 1756 for George Whitefield (1714-70), the famous preacher. In the disused churchyard rest John Bacon (1740-99), the sculptor, and Augustus Toplady (1740-78), author of 'Rock of Ages' and other hymns. On the opposite side of the street are the large stores of Shoolbred and Maple. Tottenham Court Road ends at Euston Road, and its line is continued to the north by Hampstead Road.