The Garden Guide

Book: London Parks and Gardens, 1907
Chapter: Chapter 9 Squares

Bedford Square

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Bedford Square is on the gardens of the other great house-Montagu House, built by the Duke of Montagu. Evelyn also notes going to see that. In 1676, "I dined," he says, "with Mr. Charleton and went to see Mr. Montagu's new palace near Bloomsbury, built by Mr. Hooke of our Society [the Royal] after the French manner." This house was burnt down ten years later and rebuilt with equal magnificence; but when the Duke moved to Montagu House, Whitehall, in 1757, it became the home of the British Museum. The old house was pulled down and the present building erected in 1845. The Square was laid out at the end of the eighteenth century on the gardens and the open fields of the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields beyond. Lord Loughborough lived in No. 6, and after him Lord Eldon from 1804 to 1815. At the time of the Gordon Riots in 1780, when Lord Mansfield's house was plundered, troops were stationed near, and a camp formed in the garden of the British Museum. That garden was also of use when, in March 1815, Lord Eldon's house in Bedford Square was attacked by a mob, and he was forced to make his escape out of the back into the Museum garden.