Unlike many of the other historical London areas we cover, Fitzrovia feels pretty new by comparison. The area was designed and developed by Charles Fitzroy in the 1700s, but many of its aristocratic residents moved to Mayfair and Belgravia, leaving empty properties which were soon converted into apartments and studios.
It was a popular destination for French and particularly German immigrants, to such an extent that Charlotte Street used to be known as Charlottenstrasse! Fitzrovia finally came into its bohemian own in the 1920s, where it became home and hangout for many literary and artistic figures, initially the sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell and their husbands and lovers, many of whom lived on or around the squares of Fitzrovia. As Dorothy Parker quipped, ‘they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.’
Many other literary and artistic giants made Fitzrovia their home, including Dylan Thomas, George Orwell, John Constable; of enormous note is that Thomas Paine one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America called this his home, with his Rights of Man (1791) being published while he was living in these streets.