London, United Kingdom Bedford Square


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The north side of Bedford Square, viewed from near the north-east corner

from Wikipedia by Russ London -- (Russ London). CC BY-SA 2.5

Bedford Square is a garden square in the Bloomsbury district of the Borough of Camden in London, England.


Bedford Square from the BT Tower in 1966

from Wikipedia by Christine Matthews CC BY-SA 2.0

Built between 1775 and 1783 as an upper middle class residential area, the square has had many distinguished residents, including Lord Eldon, one of Britain's longest serving and most celebrated Lord Chancellors, who lived in the largest house in the square for many years. The square takes its name from the main title of the Russell family, the Dukes of Bedford, who owned much of the land in what is now Bloomsbury.

The architect Thomas Leverton is known to have designed some of the houses, although he may not have been responsible for all of them.


Bedford Square is one of the best preserved set pieces of Georgian architecture in London, but most of the houses have now been converted into offices. Numbers 1-10, 11, 12–27, 28–38 and 40–54 are grade I listed buildings.


The central garden remains private, but is opened to the public as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend.
The square is Grade II* listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Former occupants

Bedford College, the first place for female higher education in Britain, was originally located in (and named after) Bedford Square (No. 47).

  • No. 1: Sir Lyonel Lyde Bt., first occupier of the building for ten years until his death in 1791

  • No. 4: Paul Weidlinger – structural engineer

  • No. 6: Lord Eldon — Lord Chancellor

  • No. 8: Frederick Warne & Norman Warne — publishers, of Frederick Warne & Co., who published the Beatrix Potter books

  • No. 10:

    • Samuel Lyde (brother of Sir Lyonel at No. 1)

    • Charles Gilpin — MP

  • No. 11:

  • No. 13: Harry Ricardo — engine designer — born here

  • No. 22: Johnston Forbes-Robertson — actor

  • No. 26: National Council for Voluntary Organisations, 1928 – 1992

  • No. 30: Jonathan Cape — publishing company

  • No. 35: Thomas Hodgkin — physician, reformer and philanthropist

  • No. 35: Thomas Wakley — founder of The Lancet

  • No. 36: Thomas Wilkinson King — pathologist

  • No. 41:

    • William Butterfield — architect

    • Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins — novelist

  • No. 44:

    • Ottoline Morrell — socialite

    • Margot Asquith — wife of the Prime Minister H. H. Asquith

  • No. 48: Elizabeth Jesser Reid — anti-slavery activist and founder of Bedford College for Women

  • No. 49: Francis Walker — entomologist; before that Ram Mohan Roy — Indian scholar and reformer

  • No. 52: — used as the contestants' house in the 2010 series of The Apprentice

Blue plaques

A number of houses have blue plaques recording famous residents:


Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Wikivoyage

Bedford Square