Two terraced rows of shops, eight on the south side and six on the north, with accommodation on the two upper floors, facing each other on either side of the pedestrianised Woburn Walk. Built c. 1822, in Regency style, stucco-faced with wooden shopfronts. Designed by Thomas Cubitt, though restored in the late twentieth century; both sides separately Grade II* listed (the two lampposts are Grade II listed). Cubitt was responsible for so much of the Bloomsbury housing for the Bedford Estate around Russell Square. As the listing text for the south side says, "This architecturally coherent and well surviving group of shopfronts ... is an exceptional composition."

Left to right: (a) The row on the north side of the Walk, seen from the west. (b) Plaque commemorating W. B. Yeats's period of residence. (c) Part of the same row, seen from the east, showing the other listed lamppost

A plaque on the middle storey of the north side records W. B. Yeats's residence here, at what was then No. 5, the third house on the left in the photograph above left. As it says, this was his London base from 1895-1919, although he was often in Ireland staying with Lady Gregory at Coole Park: "his most creative weeks and months were passed in County Galway" (Mac Liammóir and Boland 82-83). Nevertheless, it was important for him to have this base in London, and literary Bloomsbury ws the ideal place, although the accommodation itself was cramped and the locality at that time was by no means posh: "The attic room above, which WBY would eventually take over, was inhabited by a pedlar; below him was an aged cobbler; opposite a stonemason" (Foster 161).

Photographs and text 2021 by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


"1-9 and 9A, Woburn Walk." Historic England. Web. 6 July 2021.

"4-18 and 4A-18A, Woburn Walk." Historic England. Web. 6 July 2021.

Foster, R. F. W. B. Yeats: A Life. Part I: The Apprentice Mage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Mac Liammóir, Micheál, and Eavan Boland. W. B. Yeats and His World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1971.

Created 6 July 2021