I cross the very busy road at the zebra crossing at the top of Tavistock Square and as I walk the streets get quieter. Crossing onto a quieter corner, I’m in Gordon Square. The gardens here are like a wild meadow, overrun with long grass and flowers. Parts are roped off from the public and allowed to grow tall.
Today is a lovely warm day, with a breeze and I eat my lunch watching the people wandering about. The gardens are full of students sprawled on the grass, stressed out academics (who bring their mugs from their offices into the park) and men who for whatever reason need to sleep in the shade of the trees here. It’s the quietest square in Bloomsbury I know.
Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group met in a town house in the square, now a part of the Birkbeck’s School of Arts. These days the basement of the building is the university creche.
There are two statues in the gardens, one to the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and another to the incredible Noor Inayat Khan, who was posthumously awarded the George’s Cross and the Croix de Guerre for her work with the French resistence in the Second World War.
After finishing my sandwich, I follow the meandering path around the square. By the cute kiosk which sells hot drinks, I notice a bench with a plaque which reads:
“Here beats the happy heart of
our emotional geography
Jack & Rachel“