Conservation areas: Celebrating 50 years
Conservation Areas were established 50 years ago in 1967 by the Civic Amenities Act and the Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee (BCAAC), held an event to celebrate their important contribution to the preservation and enhancement of our built environment. Hosted by Hugh Cullum Architects, the Conservation Advisory Committee was addressed by Frank Dobson, the long-serving MP for Holborn and St Pancras (1979 to 2015). Frank Dobson has lived in Bloomsbury for many years and has supported BCAAC throughout by actively championing the cause of conservation in the local area.
The Bloomsbury Conservation Area is large: approximately 160 hectares and is bounded by Euston Road to the north and High Holborn and Lincoln’s Inn Fields to the south and from Tottenham Court Road in the west to King’s Cross Road in the east. The Bloomsbury Conservation Area was one of the first to be designated after Conservation Areas were established in 1967.
The Bloomsbury Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy was adopted in April 2011 summarises the evolution of Bloomsbury:
“Bloomsbury represents a period of London’s early expansion northwards, dating from Stuart times (around 1660), which continued through the Georgian and Regency periods to around 1840. This period of expansion, which followed the Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666, replaced a series of Medieval Manors on the periphery of London and their associated agricultural and pastoral land. The first swathe of building created a mix of uses with houses, a market, commercial, cultural uses (the British Museum), hospitals and churches. Later expansion of the northern part of the Conservation Area was focussed on providing grander residential districts for wealthy families. This was carried out speculatively by a number of builders, on leases from major landowners, and followed a consistent form with terraced townhouses constructed on a formal grid pattern of streets and landscaped squares. The progression of development across the Conservation Area illustrates the subtle changes in taste and style in domestic architecture that occurred throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.”