Exploring the Famous Writers of Bloomsbury, London

Bloomsbury in London has, for centuries, been a mecca for influential writers from across the world looking for both inspiration and a social life that would lead to success for their work.

“It is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them.” (George VI)

As a London tourist, Bloomsbury is a diverse area where you could spend time wandering the famous shopping streets before taking in the wealth of sights and attractions that appeal to visitors all year round. With world renowned museums on your doorstep, many of which highlight the creative talents of this area, staying in one of the many Bloomsbury hotels may be the icing on the cake for many literary fans.

British Museum, Bloomsbury, London,

Welcome to the British Museum in Bloomsbury (photo credit: British Stormnight licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons)

Why Bloomsbury?

What attracts people to this area? Perhaps it is the fact that the buildings of Bloomsbury, regardless of how modern the insides may now be, have been able to retain a grand and period charm that individuals now crave. Still popular with the upper classes today this is an area that any up and coming writer would want to live in.

About the Writers of Bloomsbury

At the start of the 20th century, a small group of artists and intellectuals who lived around the area would collectively meet to discuss anything from politics to philosophy on a regular basis. Over the course of time this had led to more prominent authors moving to this area of the city.
So who were these authors where did they reside?

#1 Virginia Woolf

As a significant literary figure of the 1900’s, the Modernist wrote many novels and lengthy essays her most famous works include Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), plus the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929).

During her lifetime Woolf lived in not one but five different houses around Bloomsbury including: 46 Gordon Square, 29 Fitzroy Square, 38 Brunswick Square, 52 Tavistock Square and finally 37 Mecklenburgh Square; she really was the queen of Bloomsbury at the start of the century.

If you are a fan, after taking a peek at each of her properties why not take a wander around Tavistock Square, to enjoy the gardens and take in the scenes that supposedly inspired her writing.

Bloomsbury, London, Tavistock Square

Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury London

#2 Charles Darwin

Once known as 110, 12 Upper Gower Street was the first home of Charles and his wife Emma. Whilst he is fore mostly known as a scientist no-one can forget his written work especially The Origin of Species which is considered to be the foundation for evolutionary science.

#3 Dorothy L. Sayers

Probably best known for her crime writing and lead sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey, Sayers is still as popular today as she was when she was writing during both World Wars. Living in Bloomsbury, at 24 Great James Street to be precise, clearly gave her inspiration, even one of her main characters Harriet Vane lived in Bloomsbury.

#4 William Butler Yeats

Even the Irish fall in love with the ‘melancholy’ of London. Whilst Yeats was living at 18 Woburn Buildings he became a dramatic writer, so much so that he went on to win the Noble Prize for Literature in 1923.

Today, Wolburn Walk is an attraction pedestrian-only shopping area close to Euston Station. The beautifully preserved Dickensian fronted buildings are now home to bookshops, galleries and restaurants making it a wonderful place to visit.

#5 J.M.Barrie

Grenville Street was not only the home of J.M.Barrie it was also immortalized as the Darling family home in Peter Pan. After being educated in Scotland Barrie moved to London where he dedicated his waking days to becoming a great writer.

Like many other authors, his inner circle was made up of world-class literati including George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Thomas Hardy.

If you are a fan of Peter Pan don’t forget to head to Kensington Gardens and the interactive statue of the infamous child that never wanted to grow up.

Peter Pan, London, Bloomsbury set, Barrie, Kesington Gardens

Peter Pan: The boy who refused to grow up

#6 Charles Dickens

48 Doughty Street will forever be remembered as the great writer’s home after becoming a London attraction visited by thousands each year. Today, not only can you wander the streets in search of Dickens’s haunts you can also peruse the rare books, paintings and personal possessions that belonged to the author whilst enjoying the surroundings of his one-time family home.

Whether you are a one-time Dickens fan thanks to a famous festive Christmas story or a fully fledged member of the Dickens Fellowship, Bloomsbury is central to this author’s history.

As you walk in the footsteps of these exceptional writers you will begin to see that Bloomsbury has been transformed into a vibrant literary neighbourhood. So once you have wandered around, checking out the countless historic blue plaques that litter this area why not take refuge in one of the many coffee shops or bookshops.

hitoric blue plaques, Bloomsbury, London, history, literature

The historic blue plaques of Bloomsbury

Have you got a favourite bookstore or coffee shop around the Bloomsbury area? Let us know, we would love to visit for ourselves.

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