The land to the south of the present Great Russell Street was granted to the Leper Hospital of St Giles, and one of its buildings occupied a site which is now the corner of Great Russell Street and Museum Street. From the 13th century the Russell family owned all the surrounding land . IN 1662 they leased out building sites long a proposed street line, and the first houses were built in the 1670s. In 1777 John Nash, then 25, took a lease on the corner of Bloomsbury Square and built two elegant houses with Corinthian pilasters facing the square and a terrace of six smaller ones along the south side of Great Russell Street, all with stucco exteriors. Nash himself occupied the one on the corner of Bury Place from 1778 to 1781, but the leases failed to sell and he was declared bankrupt in 1783. They are his first buildings and survive today.
Probably the most popular museum in the UK, the British Museum is dedicated to human history and culture. It contains collections and pieces from all around the world including ancient Egypt, Greece and South America.
Originated in an offer by the physician and collector Sir Hans Sloane, who died in 1753 and suggested in his will that parliament might like to buy for £20,000 his works of art, antiquities and natural history collections which had cost him about £50,000 to assemble. The offer was accepted and a Foundation Act was passed the same year authorizing the purchase not only of the Sloane Collection but also of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts. In 1755, £10,250 was paid for Montagu House, Bloomsbury - a further £12,873 was spent upon repairs and on 15 January 1759 the museum was opened to the public, but only for three hours per day and only to a very limited number of people. Today the museum receives more than 7 million visitors every year.
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