Library Services


1-19 Torrington Place review

14 December 2021

Eleanor Dales, Human Rights MA, visits 1-19 Torrington Place in the second of a series of articles written about our spaces.

Student studying, wearing a face mask with London in window view

As UCL campus reopened this term, so did many of UCL’s temporary study spaces. One that I believe should be of particular interest to students is 1-19 Torrington Place, a bookable study space that also offers you 360° views of London which include The London Eye and The Shard. Life in London can become very fast paced and Torrington Place offers a calming work environment that allows you to embrace the London skyline away from the commotion on the streets below.

Returning to in-person teaching after a year of isolating in our houses can feel intimidating. The huge size of UCL campus and sheer quantity of people can tend to make the campus feel chaotic rather than a productive place to study, especially for new students. My own experience of reintegrating into studying on campus has resulted in me avoiding crowded spaces due to my residual Covid-19 concerns. But the UCL Library Services and the UCL Go! App provides information on live space availability and bookable study spaces that has been extremely useful in planning my study sessions and has even led me to my new go-to space, Torrington Place.

Just a 2-minute walk away from Waterstones Gower Street, 1-19 Torrington Place is a bright, open office conversion that provides 182 individual study spaces split across floors 7-9, with 2 group study rooms available to book on floor 8. The booking system allows you to choose what floor and desk you want to work at so you know exactly where to go, and even allows you to look at what other seats have been booked so you know how busy you can expect the space to be.

Wearing masks is mandatory, unless exempt, and there are staff on hand to enforce this so that everyone can feel confident they are studying without risk.

The staff are extremely welcoming and ready to do all they can to ensure that students have a positive atmosphere to work in. If you find that you are struggling with the pressures of studying and/or coping with Covid-19 concerns, then the staff are available to help ease your worries and even offer a separate quiet room for you to take a breath and relax before you continue. There are also separate rooms available for quiet prayer or meditation that are available on request.

Unfortunately, you can’t eat in any of the study spaces, but if you need a break or somewhere to eat then the ground floor has multiple pods available for eating and socializing. In addition, 1-19 Torrington Place is opposite Planet Organic, where UCL students receive 10% discount. It is also perfectly placed next to Tottenham Court Road which offers multiple places to dine-in or shops such as Tesco Express and Lidl for food on-the-go.

The only downside of studying at Torrington Place is that there is no equipment available. Students are expected to bring their own laptops as there are no computers or laptop loans available in the building (although you can borrow laptops from other library sites) and the group study rooms do not include large screens or projectors. But I think the views and the staff make up for that. The Information Assistants are extremely knowledgeable and can advise students on most enquiries, including directing students to wellbeing support if necessary. While the views make those moments when your mind wanders off much more interesting.

The study space at Torrington Place has been specifically set up to support students adapting to the ‘new normal’ at university, making the transition from studying at home to campus as easy as possible.

I highly recommend heading over there to study, and if you do my personal recommendation for the best view is floor 9; pick desk 152 or 159 for a window seat that looks across some of London’s best-known landmarks.

Further information

Please check the library website for up-to-date information on opening times.