Street Haunting

 

Another trip with work for to London for a couple of days this week. After my final meeting on Wednesday, late afternoon, I had three hours to kill before I could catch the train back home (I refuse to pay out just over £300 for a two hour journey which would allow me to take an earlier train – even if it’s not my own money!) but there’s always something to do in London. So as Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set have been on my horizon for the last few weeks – since I visited the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery I’ve been following up with some reading – and as it was a nice, warm, sunny afternoon, I decided to have a stroll around the streets of Bloomsbury.

Walking through the streets of her neighbourhood and other parts of the city was something Virginia Woolf herself was fond of. She even wrote a short piece, Street Haunting, about one such walk one evening from her home in Bloomsbury to the Strand to buy a pencil. And walking through the streets of London is very much central to her novel, Mrs Dalloway.

14660199287_46c166367e_k

I didn’t attempt to follow VW’s route but took a fairly random course trough the old Georgian Streets and Squares, diverting to look at some favourite buildings

14843652351_464431e946_o

I ended up by the British Museum. It was heaving with tourists – it was August and the height of the tourist season, after all. As there was less than an hour before it closed, and I couldn’t have faced the crush inside, a visit wasn’t on the cards. Instead I turned into Bury Place and wandered into the London Review Bookshop.

14844283864_c23189f1cb_k

I spent a little time browsing their shelves and then found myself a seat in their rather excellent cafe (as recommended by Barbara of Milady’s Boudoir) where I had a pot of tea and a cake (to bring up my blood sugar level ready for the walk back to Euston afterwards)

14660114648_d325398ca6_k

Feeling reinvigorated, I treated myself to a book for the journey back home and then set off back into the streets of Bloomsbury. I took a bit of a circuitous route, towards Queen’s Square, passing the house where Bertrand Russell used to live

14660201207_86c0130e78_k

14660115398_7aacececd6_k

I passed this building with it’s interesting Bauhaus style lettering

14843653891_d4ade5d639_k

past some more traditional Georgian period houses

14846393322_d038f26d67_k

and into Queen’s Square itself

14866612733_b5ef22d91a_k

After tha I decided I’d go and have a look at Gordon Square where Virginia and Leonard Woolf and various members of the Bloomsbury Se, including Vanessa and Clive Bell, John Maynard Keynes and Lytton Strachey all lived for a while.

14846730405_b680cc546a_k

A very pleasant garden in the centre, accessible to the public these days, it would have been private and reserved for residents when the square was first built, But there were plenty of people enjoying the warm sunshine.

14660050770_dab022887a_k

The “Bloomsbury’s” lived in the terrace of houses on the east side of the square

14660205227_02ae20d9db_k

Virginia, Leonard, Vanessa and Clive all lived at No. 50

14660048700_9d73e3a813_k

14660106579_87b7b4214e_k

While Lytton Strachey lived next door at No. 51

14843657191_e01b1d0a42_k

14660119168_a380a8025b_o

Today, like much of the surrounding area, the houses are owned by the University of London.

The few hours had passed quickly so it was time to head past yet more typical Georgian houses back to Euston, only a few minutes walk away, to catch my train home.

14823768926_86d12380a1_k

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Street Haunting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s