Bedford Square: Creating Social Distance

  • 4 April 2022

The new drawing room display, Bedford Square: Creating Social Distance, is now open. The display runs until 9 September 2022 and is free to view during the Centre's opening hours.

Bedford Square has always been acclaimed as an outstanding piece of urban planning. Built between 1775–1782, the fifty-three houses of the square – all but one arranged in apparently symmetrical order, in four “palace-fronted terraces” around a gated, landscaped garden – are considered exemplars of Georgian architecture. The arrangement of the buildings remains intact, and many original architectural details and even interiors are preserved along with much of the character of the private garden, making Bedford Square one of the most complete survivals of Georgian London.

Through literature on Bedford Square’s architectural history and records of its inhabitants, this display highlights the way that classic Georgian architecture created forms of social distancing: in its physical form; in creating closed and exclusive urban sites; through its internal spaces which separated inhabitants and allocated roles in highly predictable ways; and its aesthetic values which lay claim to supposedly timeless and universal principles of classical design and geometrical order.

Find out more about the display here.