Before Senate House

Senate House constructions site taken in 1936

Historical maps of the land around Senate House before it was built from 1720 until the present.

1720

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The Bedford Estate Farmland- liquorice fields, cherry orchards and dairy farms.

1795

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Encouraged by the worlds first urban by-pass ‘the New Road’ from Paddington to islington the urbanisation of fields to its south begins. The road (renamed in 1857 as the Euston Road) was built to ease movement of troops and move cattle to the city markets. The 4th Duke of Bedford is against the road as it will spoil the estates fine views to Hampstead and Highgate in the north. On the Dukes death in 1771 his wife builds Bedford square in his memory 1771.

1801

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The 5th duke of bedford embraced the development of the estate into wide streets and grand squares fit for gentry. He commissioned the architect James Burton. Burton built Bedford square, Russell Square and the east side of Tavistock square.

1870

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After the Napoleonic wars speculative builders developed terraced houses constructed on formal grids street patterns with garden squares. Thomas Cubitt completed Tavistock square in 1820 and started work on Gorden Square. James Sim built Torrington place and Woburn Square between 1821- 28. By 1830 the area was completely developed and a street pattern mostly unchanged to this day, save for the university of London development, still exists. Robert Smirke extends the British museum between 1823-57 to house its growing collection.

1890

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The various buildings of UCL to the north of the site were constructed between 1824-1890. William Wilkins ( National Gallery) designed the main UCL block facing Gower Street.

1910

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New fashionable developments in Holland park and St. Johns wood meant Bloomsbury became less desirable as a residential area. Non -residential uses starts to take over with The university of London clearing a large site for development. The Edward VII galleries of the British Museum are commissioned in 1905 and built by John Burnett to the north of Smirkes original North wing onto Montague place and a British museum avenue was laid out to connect Torrington square and the British Museum extension.

1950

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Charles Holden’s Senate House development is built between 1930-37. The scheme was prepared as a spine of buildings extending from Montague place to Byng Place. Only the first phase of the scheme is built before World War 2 due to a shortage of funds. There is extensive bomb damage to Bloomsbury during the war.

2015

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Extensive bomb damage allows the University to extend East. Denys Lasdun developed the IOE and SOAS completed in 1976. At the same time the Brunswick centre was built by Patrick Hodgkinson with Sir Leslie Martin.