The Garden Guide

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

Russell Square

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RUSSELL SQUARE is the largest square in central London, with the exception of Lincoln's Inn Fields. It was laid out in 1801 on Southampton Fields and like Bedford Square was at one time a favourite residence of lawyers. On the south side of the central garden is a statue of the 5th Duke of Bedford (1765-1805), by Westmacott. The east side of the square, almost entirely rebuilt, is mainly occupied by two large hotels. No. 13, on the north side, for over 25 years the home of Sir George Williams (died 1905), originator of the Young Men's Christian Association, is now used for the training of Y.M.C.A. secretaries. No. 50 is the seat of the American University Union; No. 55 is the headquarters of the Miners' Federation. Miss Mitford lived at No. 56 (rebuilt) in 1836. Cowper, when a Westminster schoolboy, lived at No. 62 (now pulled down). Sir Thomas Lawrence occupied No. 65 (house removed) from 1805 till his death in 1830. No. 67 (east side), a relic of Baltimore House, afterwards called Bolton House bears a tablet recording the residence of Lord Loughborough. At No. 21 Sir Samuel Romilly killed himself in 1818. The Institute of Chemistry (by Sir J. J. Burnet) stands on the site of No. 30, long occupied by Henry Crabb Robinson (died 1867); over the entrance in Keppel St. is a seated figure of Priestley. To the north-west of Russell Square stretch the elongated Woburn Square and Torrington Square. Charles Kean lived at No. 3 Torrington Square in 1853-56, and Christina Rossetti (died 1894) at No. 30. The latter is commemorated by a reredos, with paintings by Burne-Jones, in Christ Church, Woburn Square.