London Parks & Gardens Trust

A Walk through Bloomsbury

Brunswick Square

Brunswick Square

Menu Next

Directions

Walk through St George's Gardens, out through the gates at the west end and straight ahead along Handel Street. Turn left into Hunter Street and walk down to Brunswick Square. Turn left into the square.

Cross the road and go through the gate into the gardens.

Description

Brunswick Square was built by James Burton between 1795 and 1802, under the supervision of Thomas Merryweather, secretary of the Foundling Hospital. The gardens were laid out and railed in 1799. The square was named after Caroline of Brunswick, the Prince Regent's wife.

Sadly, many of the houses around the square were bombed in the Second World War, and it has been extensively rebuilt. The garden has been recently restored to its 18th-century appearance, and its railings, which were lost in the war, replaced.

On your left, the University of London School of Pharmacy now occupies the site of Nos 27 and 38. Novelist E.M. Forster (1879-1970), author of books such as A Passage to India and A Room with a View, lived at number 27 from 1925 to 1930. He then moved next door for a further 10 years. His permanent home was in Surrey with his mother, but the flat in town allowed him to meet his various male acquaintances away from her watchful eye.

Virginia Stephen, better known by her married name as author Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), lived at No. 38 from 1911 to 1912, sharing the house with her brother Adrian, painter Duncan Grant and economist John Maynard Keynes, some of the key members of what later became known as the Bloomsbury Group.

A little further on, 40 Brunswick Square is the new house built in the 1920s for the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children on the part of the old Hospital gardens. The building now houses the Foundling Museum, with a notable collection of paintings, including works by Hogarth, Reynolds and Gainsborough. The museum has a pleasant café overlooking the square and accessible toilets.

Outside the museum is a statue of Captain Thomas Coram, by William Macmillan, installed in 1963.