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Bloomsbury Group in LGBT history

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Bloomsbury Group in LGBT history

The Bloomsbury Group plays a prominent role in the LGBT history of its day.


Before the First World War

While still in the Bloomsbury area LGBT activity was all very much in a single group. For example, Duncan Grant, a homosexual with bisexual leanings, had affairs with Maynard Keynes, James Strachey, Adrian Stephen, David Garnett and straight Vanessa Bell.

Names of LGBT people outside the Bloomsbury Group strictly speaking include Mary Garman, Nina Hamnett, Jane Ellen Harrison, Rupert Brooke and Arthur Hobhouse.

D. H. Lawrence had criticised the homosexual tendencies in the Bloomsbury Group, though close to the core members of the group

During and after the First World War

Later the groups differentiated. Keynes married Lydia Lopokova, and no longer belonged to any of the LGBT groups. Other groups more or less split according to the location where they started to live.

Most of LGBT men in and around the Bloomsbury Group were conscientious objector during the war: they had to leave London in order to do manual labour on the land.

Lady Ottoline Morrell's circle

Lady Ottoline Morrell's extravagant parties no longer brought the group together, but during the First World War she did provide housing for conscientious objector Aldous Huxley at Garsington Manor, where he was married to Maria Nys after the war. D. H. Lawrence, another visitor of Garsington, befriended Huxley.


Also Duncan Grant and David Garnett had to work on the land as conscientious objectors during World War I. They started living with Vanessa Bell in Charleston Farmhouse. Later Vanessa's and Clive Bell's son Julian proved to be gay too.

Francis Birrell started a bookshop together with David Garnett later on.

Lytton Strachey and Dora Carrington

Also during the First World War Lytton Strachey and Dora Carrington moved to Tidmarsh Mill House. Later (in a ménage à trois with straight Ralph Partridge) they moved to Ham Spray House.

Roger Senhouse, had been Strachey's last lover

E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster spent his time as conscientious objector in Egypt, and remained there some time after the First World War.

When returning to England his circle of LGBT friends and acquaintances included W. J. H. Sprott, J. R. Ackerley, Christopher Isherwood, Siegfried Sassoon, Forrest Reid and Benjamin Britten.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia and Leonard Woolf first moved to Hogarth House in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, where they set up the Hogarth Press. Later they moved to Monk's House in East Sussex.

Hogarth Press

Katherine Mansfield and John Lehmann were LGBT acquaintances linked to Hogarth Press, the publishing company Virginia Woolf owned with her husband Leonard Woolf.


After Virginia Woolf had moved to Monk's House, she would meet Vita Sackville-West, writing her Roman à clef Orlando: A Biography about her. Woolf also met the LGBT people around her, including Harold Nicolson, Sackville-West's husband, Benedict Nicolson, their LGBT son and Violet Trefusis, her former lover.


Composer and suffragist Ethel Smyth was another later acquaintance of Virginia Woolf.


Bloomsbury Group in LGBT history Wikipedia