Winter walks in Bloomsbury Squares

Free Guided Walking Tours of Bloomsbury
Saturdays, 11:00am, rain or shine!
Meet at the steps of the Goodenough Club
23 Mecklenburgh Square, London, WC1N 2AD

December 12, 2015:  Blue Plaques of Bloomsbury*
December 19, 2015:  King’s Cross: A Changing Landscape
December 26, 2015:  Garden Squares of Bloomsbury
January 2, 2016:  Architecture in Bloomsbury
January 9, 2016:  Power and Politics in Bloomsbury
January 16, 2016:  King’s Cross: A Changing Landscape
January 23, 2016:  The Heart of Bloomsbury
January 30, 2016:  The Women of Bloomsbury

 Each themed walk is led by a different tour guide.
Tour guides are volunteers and members of Goodenough College,, sponsor of the walks.

 If you would like to schedule a private guided walking tour for your own group, please email:

To confirm the weekly walks, please visit and search “Val Martin Memorial Walks.”

Guides are members of Goodenough College

*Overview of the themes of the walks:

Blue Plaques of Bloomsbury:
Many diverse and influential people have lived in Bloomsbury throughout history. In this walk we will visit the houses that were once their homes. From so-called Father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat Sen; the Nobel Prize winner, Russell Bertrand; the inventor of the marine chronometer,  John Harrison; to the British spy Yeo Thomas, awarded the George Cross and dubbed the ‘real-life James Bond,’ you will not be left indifferent. We will walk down Doughty Street towards Holborn. Then we will pass by Red Lion Square, Bloomsbury Square Gardens, and Queen Square to finish at Russell Square Tube Station.

King’s Cross: A Changing Landscape:
This tour addresses the continually changing landscape of the King’s Cross area, from Roman times through today. The tour guide will discuss the economic and industrial history of King’s Cross, as well as the architectural history of various buildings. From The Goodenough Club, this tour progresses up Grays Inn Road, past Granary Square, then meandering through Old St Pancras churchyard, and concluding at The British Library.

The Garden Squares of Bloomsbury:
Garden squares are a visual reminder of the political, economic, and social environment from which they historically grew. The walking tour will venture inside the private, gated Mecklenburgh Square, which was named in honour of King George III’s Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The tour continues through Brunswick Square, then Queen Square, and concludes at Russell Square, all the while discussing notable neighbours of Bloomsbury.

The Heart of Bloomsbury:
Bloomsbury is home to some of the most prestigious and well-known academic institutions of the UK, such as UCL, SOAS and Birkbeck. These institutions flourished and have been trailblazers in making higher education accessible to all, here in the heart of Bloomsbury. The walking tour begins at The Goodenough Club, goes past Coram’s Fields, into Russell Square, down Gower Street, and finishes by Old St Pancras Church, which is just north of The British Library.

The Women of Bloomsbury:
The Bloomsbury neighbourhood has been home to literary icons such as Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Sayers, and Sylvia Plath as well as famous female figures, including Mrs. Charles Dickens, Amelia Edwards, and Vera Brittain, all of whom (and more!) will be discussed on this tour. The walking tour begins at The Goodenough Club, and then will venture inside the private, gated Mecklenburgh Square, down Doughty Street, into the Mews, then onto Great Ormond Street. The walk concludes at The Mary Ward Centre in Queen Square.

Architecture in Bloomsbury:
This walking tour begins with an architectural overview of Goodenough College and its architect, Sir Herbert Baker. After discussing the architecture surrounding Mecklenburgh Square, the walk will continue past the Foundling Museum, the Brunswick Centre, Hotel Russell and into Russell Square, all the while discussing architects and their associated architectural movements, including Art Deco and Brutalist. We will stop in front of the British Museum with its Greek Revival facade and then conclude our walking tour at Bedford Square, which is considered one of the best preserved Georgian squares in London.

Power and Politics in Bloomsbury:
This tour addresses the theme of power and politics in Britain and investigates, in particular, the tension between established structures and new ideas and movements. The walk begins with an investigation of the role and influence of the 5th Duke of Bedford and the Russell family in Bloomsbury and continues by exploring how established structures and thinking were challenged over time. In particular, the contributions made by the radical late eighteenth century politician Charles James Fox, and Mahatma Gandhi are examined in this respect. The walk leads from Russell Square and Bedford Way to Bloomsbury Square and Tavistock Square.

Bloomsbury in Fiction:
This walk focuses on appearances of Bloomsbury in fiction as well as famous writers of fiction who have lived in the area, including Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, J.M. Barrie, and Mary Shelley. It begins and ends at The Goodenough Club and main stops are Mecklenburgh Square, Coram’s Fields, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Russell Square, British Museum, Senate House Library, Tavistock Square, Gordon Square, Marchmont Street, Brunswick Street.

Art and Society in Bloomsbury:
This walk looks at some of the key figures, societies, and social and cultural movements who have shaped the world of Bloomsbury and beyond. Beginning and ending at the Goodenough Club, visit the Foundling Museum, the Brunswick, Russell Square, Gordon Square, Gower Street, and Queen Square and learn about such movements as the Bloomsbury Group, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, and the Foundling Hospital.

Dickens, Disraeli and Friends:
Besides Dickens and Disraeli, this tour showcases mariner and philanthropist Thomas Coram, musician and composer George Frederick Handel, and writer Anthony Trollope. From The Goodenough Club, we walk past the footpath next to Coram’s Fields and stop in front of the statue of Thomas Coram at The Foundling Museum. Then, we head back to Mecklenburgh Square, walk down Doughty Street until we reach Theobald’s Road. From there, we go to Great James Street, Great Ormond Street and finally to Queen Square.

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