Where some of the 20th century’s most progressive artists and writers came together to imagine society differently

The studio; photograph: Lewis Ronald

In 1916, the painter Vanessa Bell and her friend and lover Duncan Grant moved to Charleston along with Duncan’s partner David Garnett. It was the height of the First World War and, as conscientious objectors, Garnett and Grant needed to find farm work to avoid conscription.

Almost as soon as they moved in, Bell and Grant began to paint every surface in the farmhouse, transforming it into a living, breathing work of art. Over the following decades, Charleston became a gathering point for some of the 20th century’s most radical artists, writers and thinkers known collectively as the Bloomsbury group. It is where they lived out their progressive social and artistic ideals. Today, it continues to be a place that brings people together to engage with art and ideas.