You have 2 more free articles remaining

Nevertheless, the Bloomsbury townhouse looked immaculate by the time visitors started rolling up in the evening for champagne and canapes. Some famous faces were among the crowd that turned up, with Stephen Fry and Dan Cruickshank in attenance.

Managing director Ed Maggs, whose great-great grandfather Uriah Maggs founded the firm in 1853, made a speech and cut a cake to mark the opening.

Visitors at the opening event were able to explore the two floors of the building that Maggs now occupies, with Bloomsbury Publishing maintaining office space on the upper storeys. 

The building has a green plaque on the outside denoting it was the former location of Bedford College – an institution, rather appropriately, where Mary Anne Evans (later as George Eliot) had studied.