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In the words of the famous British writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): ‘All the people I most respect and admire have been what you call Bloomsbury.’ She was only one of many who have cherished the Bloomsbury neighbourhood. The quiet and stately district became a hub of literature, art and science in the first 3 decades of the 20th century when it was the geographical home of the Bloomsbury Group.
The renowned Bloomsbury Group gave the district its intellectual reputation. Small book shops, galleries, ateliers and literary pubs still remind us of the days in which associated writers, artists and great thinkers met here every Thursday evening to philosophise. Together they reacted against Victorian morals and attitudes. A plaque at Bloomsbury Square with the greatest names, including Virginia Woolf, recalls the famous sessions. The neighbourhood, which also features the British Museum and the University of London, is still loved by writers and artists alike.
Virginia Woolf met her husband Leonard Woolf at the Bloomsbury Group. Together with her sister Vanessa and her husband Cliff Bell, a post-impressionist painter, as well as art critic Roger Fry they helped create acceptance of their ideas and art in Great Britain. Other important members included economist John Maynard Keynes, biographer and critic Lytton Strachey, and painter Dora Carrington.
Look closely and you’ll still find many traces of the lives of these Bohemians. Blue plaques on the façades indicate where the members used to live. Some resided around Gordon Square for a while. Bertrand Russell lived at number 57, Lytton Strachey at number 51 and Vanessa and Clive Bell, Keynes and the Woolf family at number 46. Strachey, Dora Carrington and Lydia Lopokova (Keynes’ wife) each lived at number 41 for some time. Virginia and Leonard Woolf also resided at 29 Fitzroy Square for 4 years.
“Dine with the locals in Charlotte Street to feel like a true Londoner”