Image of bloomsbury square

History of The Bloomsbury Estate

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 Bloomsbury Square. 

Image of bloomsbury gatekeepers

Key Periods of Time and People 

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 Earl (later 1st Duke) of Bedford bringing the Bloomsbury Estate into the Russell family.

Much of the Bloomsbury area since 1669 has been developed and cared for by the Russell Family and is today managed by the Bedford Estate office in London.

Please see  below for further information of some of the key periods of time and, from Henry VIII to Harry Potter, some of the people that have helped shape the area of Bloomsbury that we know today.

Image: Bloomsbury Gatekeepers 1892  

Bloomsbury Timeline