Women in the Walkplace: Tracking Bloomsbury’s Female Pedestrians
Due to Virginia Woolf’s noted residency in the area, Bloomsbury maintains a strong association in the popular imagination with female writing and feminism. Scholars such as Lynn Walker have widened our understanding of the area’s material role in the history of women’s emancipation in Britain by drawing attention to the concentration in Bloomsbury of figures involved in the suffrage movement, while a blue plaque commemorates Millicent Fawcett’s residency in Gower Street. Anna Snaith and Terri Mulholland have shown how early twentieth-century Bloomsbury and its bohemian, cosmopolitan boarding houses heralded particular challenges and opportunities for writing women such as Dorothy Richardson and Jean Rhys, among many other lesser-known names. But Bloomsbury’s material importance to feminist discourse can be dated much further back in history, as far as the eighteenth century even, given that Mary Wollstonecraft wrote her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) while living in apartments in Store Street.