Bloomsbury Square

Bloomsbury Square
Duel site

One of the earliest London squares, Bloomsbury Square was developed by the 4th Earl of Southampton in the late 17th century. The square was Initially named after the Earl, whose house occupied the whole of the north side where Bedford Place is now located. The other sides were lined with terraced house and occupied by members of the aristocracy and gentry. By the early 19th century, Bloomsbury was no longer fashionable with the upper classes. Consequently, the Duke of Bedford, whose family had acquired the house through marriage, moved out of Bedford House, which was demolished and replaced with further terraced houses. In the 19th century the square was occupied mainly by middle class professionals. The writer Isaac D'Israeli lived at No. 6 from 1817 to 1829 and for part of that time his son, the future Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli lived with him. In the 20th century most of the buildings came to be used as offices. On April 9, 1694, Bloomsbury Square was the setting for an infamous duel. The then 23-year-old Scottish economist and financier John Law fought Edward 'Beau' Wilson, killing him with a single pass and thrust of his sword. Law was convicted of murder and sentenced to death but managed to escape his condemned cell, fleeing to the continent. There, he slowly came into favour with the governing nobility and became the Controller General of Finances in 1720, effectively controlling internal and external commerce. His downfall was severe, however: he was the architect of what became known as the Mississippi Company bubble, which caused economic collapse in France; and he died a poor man in Venice in 1729. Wikipedia/CTGuides