Library Services


Senate House Hub - Review

17 January 2022

In the third of a series of articles reviewing library spaces, Kristy Campbell, PhD student in IOE, visits the Senate House Hub which can be accessed by UCL staff and postgraduate research students.

Interior of the Senate House Hub, study rooms

On a blustery autumn Thursday morning I set off to visit the UCL Senate House Hub. With a steaming take-away tea in hand and feeble burnt orange leaves brushing against my shoes, I wondered through Russell Square towards the magnificent building. 

Looking up at the structure I felt microscopic. I watched the clouds pass by high above the phenomenal Art Deco design, brimming with curiosity. A mere two minute walk from the IOE, adjacent to SOAS, looking out over Russell Square, this Grade II listed University of London building is placed at the heart of our academic neighbourhood.

I opted for the staircase lined with grand marble walls, and ascended towards the third floor. Passing through beautiful wooden doorways, I was guided towards an expanse of orderly study spaces designated for postgraduate students and staff at UCL. Upon entering the first corridor, I was greeted with a display of robust arm chairs and individual desks each looking out towards the courtyard of this early 20th century structure. Branching off the corridor was a variety of different study rooms ranging from collaborative spaces for group work, to graceful open spaces where you can turn up and work alone. 

The hub comprises of an assortment of facilities including photocopiers, computers, desk lights, plug sockets at every desk, and a receptionist available upon arrival to provide support during your visit. 

The rooms had diverse collections of artwork and artefacts hanging from the walls, reminding me how fortunate I was to encounter these spaces that preserved important and inspiring work. As I typed away on my laptop, I watched the sun drape across the room through the great windows. The room was quiet, but I could hear the world carrying on beyond the doorway, providing me with a sense of belonging. 

The doorways and latches on windows were reminiscent of a time gone by, a harvest-stain oak aesthetic, and speckled textured glass distorting the view into the corridors, simultaneously capturing the bursts of light on their convex surfaces. 

Whether you’re in search of a quiet space to focus or somewhere to initiate social learning, the hub is designed to suit a host of academic needs. The dividers on the desks are sufficient to give the feel of a unique learning pod, while also granting opportunity to share your study experience and meet other members of our academic community.

Senate House has stairwells and lifts available to its visitors, and there is ample room throughout the hub to allow one to manoeuvre with ease. 

Taking into account recent events, the UCL Senate House Hub has taken necessary measures to ensure that visitors have a safe experience. The study spaces complete with multiple desks are spread out to maintain a safe distance from visitors, while also granting sufficient space for all the learning materials you require out on your desk. The rooms have good ventilation, and both the desks and carpets appear particularly clean. 

This space is a fantastic environment to begin discovering valuable learning resources available to you through your affiliation with UCL. While visiting the hub, why not acquaint yourself with the Senate House Library too? 

The hub is a refreshing and spacious location where you can continue to safely meet other members of the UCL postgraduate community, so do take the time to explore the selection of study spaces available to see how it might facilitate your learning experience this academic year.

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