Our Bloomsbury Blast - starring Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot & friends
Available on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons
With its leafy squares and quaint streets, Bloomsbury was a genteel suburb of London when it was laid out and built in the 18th and 19th centuries. When the area fell out of favour, grand homes were converted into studios and boarding houses with affordable rents. With its educational establishments and the British Museum Reading Room nearby, by the end of the 19th century, Bloomsbury was a magnet for impoverished writers, independent women, and scholars, thinkers and activists from across the world.
Radical social and political movements burgeoned here, like the Working Men's College, socialist organisations, and the campaign for women's suffrage. Pioneering writers and artists were woven into that fabric and their causes informed their work. In the early 20th century, proponents of what we call Modernism -- and its various subsets like Imagism and Vorticism -- developed their work here.
We'll meet some on this tour and hear their fascinating stories, along with recitals and performances of their work, spanning from the late 19th century up to 1931. We'll see how they responded and contributed to world events and social and political change. There's Yeats and Tagore, with their desire for independence in their native countries; there's the Americans, Eliot, Pound and Doolittle, reaching for a new poetic sensibility; the Bloomsbury Group with their friends and foes; mavericks like Wyndham Lewis; the development of 'stream-of-conscious' writing in the novels of Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf, and the vibrant individual voices of D H Lawrence and Charlotte Mew.
It's a rich palette of characters, and we'll see how their lives intertwined, what they had to say about each other, and what they got up to when no one was looking! We'll find an area buzzing with invention and ideas, and writers testing new ways of living, working and getting noticed.
Writers you’ll meet in Bloomsbury:
Tours last approximately 3 hours, with the opportunity for a break for refreshments.
Limited to small groups, they take place entirely outside. There is a considerable amount of walking and standing, so comfortable shoes are advised!
Public tours -- costing £25 per person -- are are available on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, and pre-booking is essential. To find available dates, please click on 'Book Tour'.
Private tours are also available at a cost of £50 per person for 2 to 4 people. Larger groups (eg students and book clubs) may come at a discounted rate. Please contact us by email to discuss.
If you'd like to give a tour as a gift, you can buy a Gift Card for as many people as you like, and the recipient(s) can get in touch with us to select a date. Please click the gold 'Book Tour' button at the top of this page, or the gold 'Book Now' below, and the Gift Card option box will appear.
The Bloomsbury Blast begins in Gordon Square -- details will be sent when you make your booking -- and ends at Russell Square.