Russell Square, London

Russell Square is a vast garden square in Bloomsbury. The Russell family, earls of Bedford from 1550, gained possession of it in 1669.  The square was laid out in 1801 by Humphry Repton on land earlier called Southampton Fields, and afterward, Long Fields. James Burton was the designer of the original buildings that surrounded the square, only a few of which now remain. According to,  "Russell Square quickly became one of London’s most desirable places of residence, home to the highest of high society. It is the prime setting for the events of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, which is set at the time of the Napoleonic Wars" (Russell Square).  During the time of Mrs.Dalloway, Russell Square was home to the famous poet T.S. Eliot from 1925 till 1952. Many upper-middle-class families lived in the large terrace houses around the square. During this time many squares began deteriorating and the Russell Square was under threat. The squares were a source of countryside feeling in the busy city of London and it also was a popular place to hold events.

Today, Russell Square is within walking distance of top tourist destinations such as the British Museum and Oxford Street and has its own tube station. It is also in the heard of the University of London campus and is frequented by students. In 2005, there were two terrorist bombings that occurred near the square. One of them was in the Russell Square tube station and the other was on a bus near the square.  To commemorate the victims there is a memorial plaque. In 2016, the square was also the site of a mass stabbing.