Is it just me, or is Bloomsbury Square a little bit odd?
Perhaps it is the inexplicable art installations?
Or maybe it is the pigeon invasions?
Or possibly the red telephone boxes, which operate as restaurants rather than places to make a phone call?
It could even be the fantastic beasts, which adorn the spires of its nearby churches.
Whatever it is, Bloomsbury Square is not your typical Bloomsbury square.
No blue plaque
Perhaps the oddest thing about Bloomsbury Square is that there is no blue plaque for Sir Edwin Lutyens, who lived and worked at 29 Bloomsbury Square for many years. Bloomsbury loves blue plaques. So why nothing to commemorate Lutyens?
Edwin Lutyens was an English architect, famous for designing New Delhi as a purpose-built city to be the seat of Indian government.
Lutyens invented the Delhi Order of architecture, a style inspired by classical conventions, but which also incorporated elements of traditional Indian architectural design, of which the Rashtrapati Bhavan, now used as the official residence of the President of India, is the most conspicuous example.
At the heart of Lutyens’ vision for New Delhi was green space, in marked contrast to the crowded streets, which existed around it. Central to this was the Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ). With the recent, rapid expansion of the Indian economy, land prices in the LBZ are now some of the most expensive in the world.
Expansive green spaces are something, which Lutyens’ New Delhi and Bloomsbury both share. Even if it is no longer possible to hunt out Lutyens’ former home at number 29, it is still possible to walk across the lawned centre of Bloomsbury Square, a view of which Lutyens must surely have enjoyed and, from which, he would have drawn inspiration.
Contemporary India Studies
The South Asia Institute at SOAS University of London offers a postgraduate degree in MSc Contemporary India Studies.
The degree offers a critical, cutting-edge study of present day India, and allows students the opportunity to study contemporary India topics, issues and challenges in anthropology, cinema, culture, development studies, history, law, literature, politics, study of religions, and languages.
Find out more
- Discover more about student life in Bloomsbury
- Learn about undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at SOAS
- Find out about the work of the SOAS South Asia Institute