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Considering A Level Colleges in London? Here's a Brief History of Bloomsbury!

City guide 17 May 2017

London is full of history. From the Ancient Roman amphitheatre where gladiators fought at Guildhall Yard, to the origin site of The Great Fire of London at Pudding Lane, or the legendary recording studios on Abbey Road where The Beatles recorded, it would seem like each street has its own story to tell.

This is especially true in Bloomsbury, where CATS London is located in Bloomsbury Square. Situated in the Borough of Camden, the beautiful area has a rich and fascinating past, and has been the setting for a number of significant events in literature, arts and culture, and education.

Read on to find out more about the remarkable history of the place students at CATS London call home.

Bloomsbury’s Early Years: A Guide for Students taking A Level Courses

 Although there is record of people living in Bloomsbury as early as 1086, the area did not start to take shape until the late 17th century. This was when it was inherited by the 4th Earl of Southampton Thomas Wriothesley.

Thomas Wriothesley developed Bloomsbury Square as a piazza for the tenants of the terraced houses surrounding his mansion, which originally stood on the northern side of the square. The peaceful park was the first garden square in London, and is still one of the most beautiful spots in the city. 

The Bloomsbury estate was then inherited by Lady Rachel Vaughan, who married William, Lord Russell, the son of the Duke of Bedford. The Russell family would go on to create much of Bloomsbury as we know it today, including Russell Square, which was where the family mansion once stood, and the British Museum, which was originally built as a house for Lady Rachel’s sister.

While much of their land has now been either sold or leased to the government, the Russell family’s company, The Bedford Estates, still owns a lot of property in Bloomsbury, including the popular shopping district area, Store Street.

The British Museum was originally the home of an aristocratic family

Students Can Follow in the Footsteps of Many Famous Figures

Throughout the years, Bloomsbury has also been home to a number of notable historic figures. This includes famous authors like J.M. Barrie, who chose Bloomsbury as the location for the Darling family home in Peter Pan, and Charles Dickens, whose house on Doughty Street is now a museum dedicated to his life.

Other historically famous people who have lived in Bloomsbury include Charles Darwin, Virginia Woolf and notable economist John Maynard Keynes. Woolf and Keynes were also good friends, and part of the influential ‘Bloomsbury Group’ along with other notable intellectuals from the area in the early 20th century.

Students at A level colleges in London will find that many of the former homes of famous figures in Bloomsbury now have ‘blue plaques’, which the English Heritage Trust uses to identify historic landmarks.

Education is a Big Part of Bloomsbury’s History

With such a vibrant intellectual and cultural history, Bloomsbury is a natural place for educational institutions. The University of London’s main campus has been located there since the 1930s, including their main offices and library at Senate House.

Other top UK educational institutions such as Birkbeck College, the Royal Veterinary College, University College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art have also been based in the area for many years. Also located nearby are the London campuses of several international universities including New York University, Florida State University, and the University of California.

This means that students taking A level courses at CATS London can explore a range of top class universities right on their doorstep. With so many options to choose from, students may find themselves staying in Bloomsbury for years to come!

The stunning Senate House building in Bloomsbury is the home of The University of London

Looking for British boarding schools that offer fast track A levels?

Contact CATS to find out more!

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