When I was in London a few weeks ago, I realised I had 20 minutes or so to spend before my engagement so decided to pop along to Gordon Square Gardens, a place a I know very well, to visit a relatively new statue in London to Noor Inayat Khan whom I wrote about in my last post.
The sculpture has been installed in Gordon Square Gardens on land owned by the University of London, close to the Bloomsbury house where Ms Khan lived as a child in 1914 and where she returned while training for the SOE during World War II.
Gordon Square is just one of many beautiful squares in Bloomsbury, this one perhaps one of the lesser visited ones unless you’re a student nearby or a customer of the rather lovely Vegan cafe that sits in precisely the opposite end of the gardens than the statue I was looking for.
I say looking for but I knew exactly where it was, I just hadn’t been there before. It was only erected in 2012 and unveiled by Princess Anne. In peak summer it is rather hidden away by the dense foliage of the overhanging trees so if you didn’t know it was there then you could be just a few seconds away and never see it.
I’ve read a lot about Noor and knew of her back in the 1990’s when I studied nearby at SOAS. It was quite a moving moment to come and see her wonderful statue which is a fitting memorial for such an incredible lady.
For some reason my photo of the fourth side of the plinth didn’t come out but it mentions how Noor Inayat Khan was executed on the morning of September 13th, 1944.
Just a minutes walk or so away is the address where she lived in the months leading to her mission to France at 4 Taviton Street where she stayed with her mother. Last year towards the end of the summer of 2020 a Blue Plaque was unveiled on the front of the house to commemorate her residence here.
Noor may not be well remembered despite her incredible bravery but we visit her statue on our Bloomsbury Literature Walking Tour (fittingly she was a poet and a writer of children’s stories before the way) which stands close by the home of another notable female resident of the square, Virginia Woolf.