In the shadow of Virginia Woolf in Bloomsbury

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

The Bloomsbury Group of bohemian artists, writers and intellectuals from the first half of the 20th Century, were so named after the area of London where they used to live and work. One of the leading members of the group was the writer Virginia Woolf.
I’ve been enjoying reading about Milady’s jaunt with her Swiss friends following in the footsteps of the Bloomsbury Group in Sussex. But I’ve also been in close contact with the area most closely associated with the group today.
Bloomsbury is one of my favourite parts of London with it’s Georgian architecture, pleasant squares and Plane trees. I guess it’s partly because it’s the first part of London I encountered walking south from Euston station during my first visits to London many years ago. Despite the hustle and bustle and heavy traffic, it still has something of a bohemian air to it – or am I just imagining it? I’ve been there again this evening as I’m down in London on business and staying in an expensive Premier Inn (£180 without breakfast!) on the edge of the district.
Tavistock Square is a short walk from my hotel. It’s where Virginia and her husband Leonard lived between 1924 and 1939 and it was here, at No. 52, where she wrote most of her mature work, including include Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) Orlando (1928), and her feminist classic, A Room of One’s Own (1929). Unfortunately their house was destroyed during the 2nd World War and the site is now occupied by the Tavistock Hotel.
Today, In the corner of the pleasant garden in the middle of the square there’s a memorial to Virginia, a bronze bust.

The Square has another literary claim to fame. Tavistock House on the east side is the site of Charles Dickens home from 1851-60, where he wrote Bleak House (1853), Hard Times(1854) and A Tale Of Two Cities(1861).



4 thoughts on “In the shadow of Virginia Woolf in Bloomsbury

  1. i love Bloomsbury too. For a few years I used to stay at The Goodenough Club on Mecklenburgh Square (the Woolfs lived in this square too – their place was destroyed during the Blitz) on my visits to London and enjoyed wandering around the area, checking out Blue Plaques which abound here, and sitting in the squares. These days I’m enjoying the Hampstead/Belsize Park area as my son now has space for me to stay in his flat.

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