View of Cambridge from St. John's College
Public DomainView of Cambridge from St. John's College - Credit: Bob Tubbs, Wikimedia Commons
Skyline of the City of Oxford
Public DomainSkyline of the City of Oxford - Credit: Wallace Wong, Wikimedia Commons
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge
Public DomainTrinity College Chapel, Cambridge - Credit: Hans Wolff, Wikimedia Commons


Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge c.1885
Public DomainWren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge c.1885 - Credit: Cornell University Library, Flickr
Trinity College Hall
Public DomainTrinity College Hall - Credit: Cornell University Library, Flickr
A Room of One's Own is partly set in the fictional 'Oxbridge', which may be seen as representing both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. However, there are clear indications in the text that specific Cambridge places are being referred to. These include Girton College and the Wren Library at Trinity College. It is also likely that the chapel referred to is the chapel of Trinity College, and that it was in that college the narrator enjoyed her lavish lunch.
Bloomsbury, London

Virginia Woolf's narrator consults books about women in the reading room of the British museum, in the area of London known as Bloomsbury.


The British Museum Reading Room as it is today
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe British Museum Reading Room as it is today - Credit: David Iliff, Wikimedia Commons


46 Gordon Square, the home of Virginia Woolf ,1904-07, and later of the economist John Maynard Keynes
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike46 Gordon Square, the home of Virginia Woolf,1904-07, and later of the economist John Maynard Keynes - Credit: Myrabella, Wikimedia Commons

Bloomsbury is situated in the southern part of the London Borough of Camden. It is home to a great number of academic institutions and hospitals, including the University of London Senate House Library, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College Hospital.

It is renowned for its attractive garden squares, such as Russell Square, Tavistock Square, and Gordon Square. Virginia Woolf lived at 46 Gordon Square between 1904 and 1907, along with her sister Vanessa, and brothers Adrian and Thoby.

Many of the intellectuals, writers and artists who formed the Bloomsbury Group – of which Virginia Woolf and other members of her family were prominent members – lived in this part of London in the early 20th century.







Google Map


When Woolf's narrator leaves the British Museum she walks home through the Admiralty Arch. and along Whitehall to reach her 'home by the river'. This suggests that she lived either in, or in the vicinity of, the area illustrated by the map below in the London Borough known as the City of Westminster:


Google Map
London Street Life

Througout the text, there are incidental references to the street-life of London during the late 1920s:

On her way to the museum, for example, the narrator notices the 'open coal-holes, down which sacks were showering'; the 'four-wheeled cabs' and the 'hoarse-voiced' costermongers with their barrows;

When the narrator returns to her home in her own 'little street', we have another glimpse of the life of the 'average' street in London: children from affluent families being cared for by nursemaids; men delivering coal again (the burning of which would, of course, contribute to the London smog which was such a feature of the period); the small shopkeeper counting her takings; the house-painter.

We get further hints about London life of the period in the description of the narrator waking the following day, when we hear about the errand boy, the dog-walkers, the taxi-cab hailers and the woman in a 'splendid fur coat' with a bunch of parma violets.

Take a trip around London in 1927!