Bloomsbury derives its name from 'Blemondisberi', meaning 'the manor of (William) Blemond', who acquired the land in the early-13th century.
The area remained mainly rural until 1661, when the 4th Earl of Southampton built Southampton (now Bloomsbury) Square around his house. The construction of Bloomsbury Square marked the start of a trend and many more followed including Bedford Square (laid out in 1775 - 80) and the much larger Russell Square (added in 1800.
In 1780 anti-Catholic Gordon rioters burned down the town house of the Lord Chief Justice in Bloomsbury Square.
None of the original buildings of Bloomsbury Square survive and today its shady garden, graced by a statue of statesman Charles James Fox (1749 - 1806), is encircled by a noisy one-way traffic system.
Bloomsbury Square has had many famous residents but is most closely associated with the the literary and artistic 'Bloomsbury Group'. Many members of the group lived in the area in the early decades of the 20th century, including artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Dora Carrington, biographer Lytton Strachey and novelist Virginia Wolf.
Individual blue plaques commemorating the members of the Bloomsbury Group can be seen throughout the area.