The History of the Bloomsbury Area
The earliest written record of the area of London that was to become Bloomsbury as it is known today, was in 1086 in the Doomsday Book, which recorded it was an area of vineyards and "wood for 100 pigs". In 1201 the area was given the name Bloomsbury when William De Blemond, a Norman landowner acquired the land.
By the 16th century the land had been granted to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton. His great grandson, the 4th Earl of Southampton began the development of the Bloomsbury area, including the building of Southampton House, later Bedford House, on what now is Bedford Square. By 1667, his daughter Lady Rachel Vaughan inherited the Estate and in 1669 Lady Rachel married William, Lord Russell, son and heir to the 5th Duke of Bedford bringing the Bloomsbury Estate into the Russell family.
Much of the Bloomsbury area since 1669 has been managed and developed by the Russell Family and is today managed by the Bedford Estate office in London. Please see our timeline below for further information of some of the key periods of time and some of the people that have helped shape the area of Bloomsbury that we know today.