The Garden Guide

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

Bloomsbury Squares

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Beyond Oxford Street are collected a great number of squares in the district of Bloomsbury. They are all surrounded by solid, well-built houses, which seem to hold their own with dignity, even though fashion has moved away from them westward. Before the squares arose, this was the site of two great palaces with their gardens. One of them, Southampton House, afterwards known as Bedford or Russell House, was where Bloomsbury Square now is. In 1665, February 9, Evelyn notes that he "dined at my Lord Treasurer's the Earl of Southampton, in Bloomsbury, where he was building a noble square or piazza, a little town; his own house stands too low- some noble rooms, a pretty cedar chapel, a naked garden to the North, but good air." This house was pulled down in 1800, and Russell Square was built on the garden. Both Bloomsbury, or Southampton Square, as it was sometimes called, and Russell Square have good trees, and in each garden there is a statue by Westmacott.