Bloomsbury Hotel, Great Russell Street, London

Sir Edwin Lutyen
Date Built
Completed 1931
16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN
The Bloomsbury is a luxury hotel in the heart of London and part of a chain of exclusive hotels, known as the Doyle Collection, in the UK, Ireland and the USA.  When it was built in the 1930s, to a design by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it was home to the Young Women's Christian Association.  As Open House London explain.  "The foundation stone was laid by Her Majesty Queen Mary on June 12th, 1929 and the Dedication Service was broadcast throughout the British Isles. The Trust Deed was signed and sealed on July 1st, 1931.  The building was constructed by Messrs Carmichael Brothers in two years and was formally opened by the Duchess of York on April 28th 1932. The 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'  The building was to serve as a meeting ground for women of different nationalities and occupations, plus it was deliberately placed in a central location so it was available both to Londoners and women arriving in London for the first time."  Evidence of the building's history can be seen above the entrance.

"The building consisted of a Cafeteria, organized on the American self-help system and seating 250, two restaurants, club rooms, lounges, class rooms, library, information office, hairdresser, concert hall seating 400, 86 bedrooms, sitting rooms, employment bureau and administration offices.  The official YWCA History reports that the Duchess of Kent opened the swimming pool on May 8th 1939 whereupon the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, came to view the pool, tour the building and take tea in the Cafeteria. Within the month, the swimming pool was approved by "two expert swimmers".

Known as the Central Club, it continued to operate through the war when the gymnasium was used as an air-raid shelter and the emptied swimming pool was used as a place for people to sleep.  The pool was boarded over and curtains erected to protect sleepers from draughts.  The club closed in 1998 and a year later the building reopened as the Jury Great Russell Street.  Seven years later a change in the Jury's Hotel company resulted in the Doyle family taking control of the hotels and in 2008 the building was once again transformed.  "Larger studio suites were created leading to the loss of 17 bedrooms – the hotel now has 153 rooms and suites. The restaurant and bar were the first part of the project to be commenced and in September 2008 the Landseer British Kitchen and Bar opened with street entrance. All existing conference rooms were re-furbished, including the installation of Waterford crystal chandeliers in the main George V and Queen Mary Hall – these had been shipped from the closure of the Berkeley Court hotel in Dublin. The library was named for regular guest Seamus Heaney in 2011.  The reception desk was moved to a position by the windows and a small bar installed in the lobby to service the lounge and the Terrace, which was an additional area utilized at the side of the building. "  (When I took these images in February of 2017, the terrace was unavailable because of scaffolding for more renovations)

Close Window