Queen Square, WC1N

Road in/near Bloomsbury, existing between 1716 and now

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Road · Bloomsbury · WC1N ·
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2000

Queen Square was laid out by speculator Nicholas Barbon.


Many of the Queen Square buildings are associated with medicine, particularly neurology.

Queen Square was originally constructed between 1716 and 1725. It was formed from the garden of the house of Sir John Cutler whose last surviving child, Lady Radnor, died in 1697 leaving no issue. It was originally left open to the north for the landscape formed by the hills of Hampstead and Highgate.

The square was previously named Queen Anne’s Square because a statue contained within it was misidentified as depicting Queen Anne. This statue is now believed to be a portrayal of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.

The public house on the southwest corner of the square, called "the Queen’s Larder", was, according to legend, used by Queen Charlotte to store food for the king during his treatment for mental illness in a house on the Square.

The church, dedicated to St George the Martyr, was built following public subscription in 1706 before the square was laid out.

Following the trend of nearby areas, gradually the houses were turned into hospitals and other medical institutions.


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Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is an area of the London Borough of Camden, in central London, between Euston Road and Holborn, developed by the Russell family in the 17th and 18th centuries into a fashionable residential area.

The earliest record of what would become Bloomsbury is the 1086 Domesday Book, which records that the area had vineyards and 'wood for 100 pigs'. But it is not until 1201 that the name Bloomsbury is first noted, when William de Blemond, a Norman landowner, acquired the land.

The name Bloomsbury is a development from Blemondisberi – the bury, or manor, of Blemond. An 1878 publication, Old and New London: Volume 4, mentions the idea that the area was named after a village called Lomesbury which formerly stood where Bloomsbury Square is now, though this piece of folk etymology is now discredited.

At the end of the 14th century Edward III acquired Blemond's manor, and passed it on to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse, who kept the area mostly rural.

In the 16th century, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII took the land back into the possession of the Crown, and granted it to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton.

In the early 1660s, the Earl of Southampton constructed what eventually became Bloomsbury Square. The area was laid out mainly in the 18th century, largely by landowners such as Wriothesley Russell, 3rd Duke of Bedford, who built Bloomsbury Market, which opened in 1730. The major development of the squares that we see today started in about 1800 when Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford removed Bedford House and developed the land to the north with Russell Square as its centrepiece.

Historically, Bloomsbury is associated with the arts, education, and medicine. The area gives its name to the Bloomsbury Group of artists, the most famous of whom was Virginia Woolf, who met in private homes in the area in the early 1900s, and to the lesser known Bloomsbury Gang of Whigs formed in 1765 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford.

The publisher Faber & Faber used to be located in Queen Square, though at the time T. S. Eliot was editor the offices were in Tavistock Square. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in John Millais's parents' house on Gower Street in 1848.

The Bloomsbury Festival was launched in 2006 when local resident Roma Backhouse was commissioned to mark the re-opening of the Brunswick Centre, a residential and shopping area. The free festival is a celebration of the local area, partnering with galleries, libraries and museums, and achieved charitable status at the end of 2012.
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