Bloomsbury – an area the estate agents at Davis Brown know only too well – is a rectangular area bound by Tottenham Court Road to the West and Gray’s Inn Road to the East. It was developed from the late seventeenth century and has long been associated with the Bloomsbury Group – a bohemian set of twentieth century artists, writers and intellectuals. With this in mind those little blue plaques were always going to be aplenty around these parts! In Denmark Street – AKA Tin Pan Alley for its association with the music industry – lived Augustus Siebe and he resided at number 5 from 1828 til 1872. Unless you have the knowledge of someone from University Challenge you will be unlikely to know that Augustus was the pioneer of the diving helmet – random I know, but extremely important for those divers none the less!
In Great Russell Street lived Thomas Henry Wyatt; he was a designer of country houses, notably the church at Wilton in Wiltshire which was built in the Romanesque Basilica style (and of great interest to our Chartered Surveyors). It was the largest Anglican church to be built for one hundred years. He lived here from the 1840s until his death around 30 years later.
There are 8 plaques in Bedford Square; Henry Cavendish lived at number 11 (aswell as another residence in Clapham Common) from 1784 until his death. He was a natural philosopher and the most experimental physicist of his time. He lived here with three servants and usually only communicated by written notes!
Charles Darwin (who needs no introduction) has his plaque at the site of number 110 Gower Street which is now the modern Biological Sciences Building of University College London. Some of the workings of this great man’s mind I hope are being passed on to the students who now study in the spot where he once studied. He moved here in 1838 until he became ill and moved in with his family elsewhere in Kent in 1842.
Plenty more writers, painters, philosophers, artists and the like lived here. Feel free to pop in to us at Davis Brown for a coffee and a chat about an area we know so well.