Bedford Square dusk, Nov 2006
A Georgian square in the heart of London
(Photos/words © urban75, 15th November 2006)
Situated in Bloomsbury, between the electronics Mecca of Tottenham Court Road and the British Museum, Bedford Square was built between 1775 and 1783 as an upmarket residential area.
The best example of an exquisitely preserved Georgian square in London, it's a great place to grab a quiet lunchtime sandwich (but you'll only be able to enviously gaze at the garden in the centre as it remains privately owned).
The majority of the houses have now been converted into offices or colleges, with numbers 1-10, 11, 12-27, 28-38 and 40-54 protected by Grade I listed status.
North side of the square. The British Museum is to the right.
The square is named after the Dukes of Bedford (the main title of the Russell family), who were the main landlords in Bloomsbury.
A host of distinguished residents have lived in the square, including the Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon; founder of The Lancet, Thomas Wakley; physician, reformer and philanthropist, Thomas Hodgkin and two-stroke engine designer Harry Ricardo.
The square's current residents include New York University's NYU in London Academic Facility (occupying No. 6), Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (No. 16), London office of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (No. 29), Sotheby's Institute of Art (No. 30),
Architectural Association School of Architecture (No. 36) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (No's 50 and 51).
The square has been beautifully preserved and at dusk when the lights come on, it feels like walking back through time.
The elegant Georgian houses have distinctive doorways decorated with Coade stone, a tough, resilient artificial stone manufactured in Lambeth.
Created by Mrs Eleanor Coade (1733-1821) and sold commercially from 1769 to 1833, Coade stone was a kiln-fired ceramic which has proved to have an incredible resistance to both the weather and London's pollution.
Looking south along the east side of the square.
The tower block just visible to the left in the background is Centre Point.
More photos: Bedford Square, London - Bloomsbury elegance in the snow [Dec 2010]