Rich in culture and history, Bedford Square has been home to many of London's most prestigious people and organizations throughout the years. Browse through a brief history and check out the upcoming events during the Bedford Square Festival.
Bedford Square is one of London’s most beautiful and best-preserved historic squares. It was built between 1776 and 1780 as a scenic residential area for the city’s upper middle class. The dignified, restrained ornament of the building reflects the classical tastes of 18th century England. The symmetry and proportion of the grand facade are characteristic of Georgian architecture, as the building forms a perfect geometrical square and the pedimented, stucco-faced centers boast discreetly of luxury. The uniformity of the surface encourages the eye to move along the never-ending facade. In fact, the meticulous design of Bedford Square reflects 18th century England’s taste for coherence and consistency in town planning and city-wide architecture.
The Square gets its name from the Dukes of Bedford, who owned the land. Scientists, actors, doctors, and novelists have resided within the elegant homes, and turned Bedford Square into an emblem of London’s vibrant and historical culture. The garden remains private today, and are listed on the English Heritage Register.
The heel prints of Bedford Square’s original occupants have long been swept away, and now the building hosts several centers dedicated to the arts, education, and industry - what Professor Jos Hackforth Jones, Director of Sotheby’s Institute in London calls “the larger academy of Bedford Square.” Sotheby’s Institute of Art has been in residence on Bedford Square since 2005, with thousands of students passing through its doors. In addition to classes educating future leaders of the art world, the London Institute has hosted renowned artists such as William Kentridge, Jane and Louise Wilson and Marcelo Brodsky.
Today, Bedford Square is home to the cultural institutions and the communities they foster: Architecture Associates, Paul Mellon Center, Yale University Press, and New College for Humanities, to name a few of Sotheby’s Institute’s neighbors on the square.
In summer 2017, the Bedford Square community comes together for four days of talks, tours, and more to showcase the vibrant intellectual and cultural life centered at this Bloomsbury square. Learn more about the first Bedford Square Festival taking place June 28 through July 1.
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