Russell Square dates from about 1800 when the first houses were built on the south side of the square by James Burton (1761-1837). He was a speculative builder hired by the 5th Duke of Bedford to develop the area. Over the next decade, Burton was responsible for building the remaining houses in the square and many of the surrounding streets. The Duke commissioned Sir Humphrey Repton, a famous landscape gardener of the time, to lay out the gardens. In 2002, the gardens were restored to their original layout after many changes in the preceeding 200 years.
Originally the square had Georgian houses on all four sides but these days only the south side retains the original houses- and even there the houses have had terracotta added to them in the 1890s to reflect the style of the newly built Russell Hotel.
On the south side of the square stands a statue of the 5th Duke of Bedford, who owned the land and commissioned Burton and Repton to create this lovely square, the second largest in London.