Discovering some of Bloomsbury's Squares

Shortly before Christmas I was in the Tottenham Court Road area of London and with some time to wander I decided against heading west to the bright lights of Oxford Street and its shops.  Instead I headed east and spent some time wandering through and photographing just some of Bloomsbury's Squares. 

While Bloomsbury has no official borders it's roughly defined as the square between Tottenham Court Road, Euston Road, Grays Inn Road and High Holborn and it has a high number of green spaces and squares. Sadly not all of them are open to the public, like Bedford Square which was the first I encountered. So I just had to make do with the railings (no complaints from me there) and glimpses into the garden. 

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 I spy a Stumpery...

I spy a Stumpery...

Continuing east I was soon at Russell Square which has a largely symmetrical quadrant design. Despite the weather there were still plenty of people about, some scurrying through the green space, others taking things a bit more leisurely.  As well as the formal beds there was also a Lime Tree Cloister, which I suspect looks better in the summer when its flowers and scent fill the space. (Mental note: I must go back and visit in the summer)

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There were a couple of other things that caught my eye, the first being the strange shape trunk of this tree:

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And the dedication on this bench, like Robin I hope I never tire of London. 

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Leaving Russell Square this time I headed north towards Tavistock Square, the home of the British Medical Association. I was surprised by the number of memorials in this square among the leafy walkways and twisting trees. 

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The first I saw was of Virginia Woolf who lived in a house on the south side of the square between 1924 and 1939 where she wrote most of her great novels.  On Instagram today I'll share my first shot of this statue which made me giggle once I'd realised how it turned out, pop over there and take a look (or take a look at the social feeds page here on my site) and let me know if you smiled too. 

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In the centre of the garden was this statue commemorating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandi. 

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The other memorials I saw were a cherry tree planted in August 1967 in memory of the victims of Hiroshima, a friendship tree - a ginkgo biloba - dedicated to the poetic genius of W B Yeats and a large boulder dedicated to all conscientious objectors to military service.

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Having made these discoveries and with a glimpse over my shoulder I headed towards Gordon Square which was just a row of houses away. It's the same size as Tavistock Square and is owned by the University of London but is open to the public. 

This square has a more modern feel to it, which is not surprising as restoration work completed in 2007. It was the buildings around this square though that most fascinated me. 

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 Note the fatball hanging from the lower branches

Note the fatball hanging from the lower branches

Before I move on, here's a few shots of the Church of Christ the King that dominated the square. 

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I was reaching Square overload, but I squeezed in one more - Woburn Square, which is the smallest square in Bloomsbury. It was named after Woburn Abbey, the main country seat of the Duke of Bedford who developed much of the area. The houses surrounding this square are different, smaller, less ornate and are classed as "second rate" and so had lower rates. Well I don't know about you, but I'd be happy to have one of these second rate homes!

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And then hidden in the greenery there was this statue, which seemed a fitting end to my Squares walk. In a short amount of time and even less distance I'd managed to walk through several green spaces all in the centre of London. Amazing. 

 The Green Man by Lydia Kapinska

The Green Man by Lydia Kapinska

"My roots go down to the depths of the world, through earth dry brick
and damp earth, through veins of lead and silver. I am all fibre."

Virginia Woolf, The Waves 1931

Our World Tuesday