Wednesday, 22, July 2015

Written by
Nicola Brady

The Feminist Origins of The Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury hotel's lobby

In the book A History of
 The Bloomsbury Hotel, various writers including Martin Lutyens (Chairman of The Lutyens Trust) delve into the history of the building, as designed by Martin’s great uncle Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1928. The book discusses the hotel’s links with the Royal family, its connection to Seamus Heaney and the Lutyens legacy. 

But one of the most interesting stories around the hotel is how it came into being in the first place.

“The history of The Bloomsbury Hotel building began in October 1923 as ‘The Central Club’, when a former National General Secretary of the Australian Young Women’s Christian Association was concerned to find that there was no provision for club life in London, when such facilities were readily available in Canada, Australia and America.” 

The idea was met with a surge of positivity, and a fundraising campaign was formed. Soon, London was inundated with canvassing, with signs plastered across the city adorned with slogans like “Be a brick and buy a brick” and “London stand by your girls”. As donations began to flood in, a committee was formed to shape what was to be known as The Central Club. 

The Bloomsbury hotel

Her Majesty Queen Mary laid the first stone on 12th June 1929, and the building was complete less than two years later. Consisting of an incredible array of rooms, including a concert hall, drawing rooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria, the building, The Central Club was an instant success.

“The Central Club was created to provide an elegant centre where mutual interest between woman and woman on a Christian basis, might be worked out and from which no concerns affecting the welfare of women and girls should be left out. It was to serve as a meeting ground for women of different nationalities and occupations, and was deliberately placed in a central location so that it was available both to Londoners and women arriving in London for the first time.”

You can find a copy of A History of 
The Bloomsbury Hotel in each guestroom. Read more about the hotel, including special offers,  here