KEYNES, John Maynard (1883-1946)
Plaque erected in 1975 by Greater London Council at 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 0PD, London Borough of Camden
Economics and Statistics
JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES 1883-1946 Economist lived here 1916-1946
Arguably the most influential economist since Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes is remembered for the system of deficit finance that bears his name – Keynesianism – as described in his best-known book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936). While living at 46 Gordon Square he was a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group.
THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP
Keynes moved to 46 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury in 1916 as a tenant of the art critic Clive Bell (1881–1964) and his wife, the artist Vanessa Bell (1879–1961). Earlier, the house had been occupied by Vanessa and her siblings, who included Virginia Woolf. Like them, Keynes belonged to the Bloomsbury Group. According to his biographer, ‘most of the practical arrangements for Bloomsbury’s collective London life were concentrated in his hands’.
Clive Bell called the house the group’s ‘monument historique’, and its several Bloomsbury connections led to consideration being given to commemorate the group as a whole. However, unlike the Pre-Raphaelites, they were considered too amorphous a collection to merit such treatment.
LIFE AT NUMBER 46
Keynes took over the lease of number 46 in 1918, and remained at the house until his death. Clive Bell kept a pied-à-terre here until 1924, and their periods of cohabitation were occasionally fractious: one unedifying dispute about an uncomfortable bed ended with Bell suggesting – in unvarnished language – that Keynes ought to take it because he was the less sexually active.
Keynes worked for the Treasury during the early part of his time at Gordon Square before becoming, in 1924, Bursar of King’s College, Cambridge. His wife, the ballet dancer Lydia Vasilievna Lopokova (1892–1981), remained at the address until 1948, and the plaque was put up in 1975.