While Bloomsbury is now associated with Virginia Woolf and her early-twentieth-century circle of writers and artists, the neighborhood was originally the undisputed intellectual quarter of nineteenth-century London. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival resources, Rosemary Ashton brings to life the educational, medical, and social reformists who lived and worked in Victorian Bloomsbury and who led crusades for education, emancipation, and health for all.
Ashton explores the secular impetus behind these reforms and the humanitarian and egalitarian character of nineteenth-century Bloomsbury. Thackeray and Dickens jostle with less famous characters like Henry Brougham and Mary Ward. Embracing the high life of the squares, the nonconformity of churches, the parades of shops, schools, hospitals and poor homes, this is a major contribution to the history of nineteenth-century London.
Rosemary Ashton is professor of English language and literature at University College London and the author of many distinguished biographies and cultural histories of the nineteenth century, including George Eliot and 142 Strand.