The latest retail Bank appearing on London streets is Metro Bank. It has a different feel from most other Banks with its bright spacious entrance areas and bold red and blue colours. Derek, the local Director of the Holborn store (as they call them) is as friendly and as welcoming as the Bank, so when he asked London Personally to undertake a walk starting and finishing at the Bank’s Southampton Row premises, lasting an hour and a bit so we were back for drinks and nibbles before it was too late, I happily agreed.
So, with a mixture of Derek’s colleagues and a number of Metro Bank’s customers in tow we began in Bloomsbury Square… where in fact Bloomsbury’s modern developement began. In 1657 the 4th Earl of Southampton began building in effect his own private suburb and London’s first named development with the name “Square”. We traced the Square’s sometime violent history in the 18th century, through to the demolition of the Earl’s house (which became Bedford House once the Southampton’s and the Bedford’s got together) to the current Regency houses and the rather stern statue of Charles Fox looking north to Russell Square. If they had had trains in the 1660s maybe this union of two great aristocratic families may have been called “the Bedhampton line”!
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