Bedford Library 10

Interactive fish pond

Bedford Library 09

Tea House, Pinch Stools and low wooden chairs

Bedford Library 08

Sofas, bench seats, whiteboards and curtians

Bedford Library 07

Bench seats, Whiteboards and curtains

Bedford Library 06

Tea House

Bedford Library 05

Shelving, bench seats and whiteboards

Bedford Library 04

Short Loan

Bedford Library 03

Entrance to Bedford Library

Bedford Library 02

Tea House

Bedford Library 01

Bench Seating



tlc@bedford, a deliberately ambiguous name (tender loving care, The Learning Centre, etc, etc) chosen by the library staff, is the result of a complete makeover of Level 2 of the Bedford Library.

Thanks to the combined efforts of designers Nomad, interior fit out and refurbishment contractors Vivid Interiors, the leadership of Interim Director of Information Services, Les Watson and the support and effort of RHUL Library, IT and Facilities Management staff over a hectic summer, Royal Holloway ( now has an exciting, innovative and flexible library space for learning.

Project managed by Ridge the space provides books, digital resources, IT facilities and group study areas in a fresh, contemporary environment. The space has more than 200 seats organised to provide a variety of study areas, 45 thin client pc workstations, a refreshment area, equipment loan facilities, self-service book borrowing, the short loan collection, and photocopying, printing and binding services. A one-stop shop point has been included at which students can receive assistance with their information and IT needs.

tlc@bedford ( complements the more traditional and silent study space provided on levels 1 and 3 of the Bedford Library and in Founder's Library and the Music Library. Its focus is on facilitating group and project work. It provides a range of group study environments from open plan to private, enabling small and large groups to work together. It encourages team working, presentation practice, problem solving and brainstorming, all possible over a coffee and some edamame beans.

A Japanese theme has been adopted as part of the catering offering. This links to the Japanese Tea House which forms the centrepiece of the design and can be described as a semi-private and multi-purpose structure (along the same lines as the 'igloos' at the Saltire Centre. The Tea House has a specific Royal Holloway association. It was inspired by the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity of the Royal Holloway campus, coupled with an early idea of Les Watson and the designers to focus the learning space around the house of the architect of the nineteenth-century Founder's building. This early candidate (later rejected) for the location of the social learning space is a wooden structure which houses Student services next to the College shop.



The Building

The Building

Type of library

Campus/site library


3000 m2




Ridge and Partners

Building contractor

Vivid Interiors Ltd

The Space

The Space

Features and services

Special services

Cafe/refreshment areas, Equipment provision, Group study spaces

External features


Internal features

Design features

Energy efficiency

Heating, Lighting

Accessibility provision


Interior designer

Nomad RDC

Furniture suppliers

Coexistence, Hicks Joinery

Services and facilities suppliers


IT provision

Internet access, Laptop points, Public access terminals, RFID, Self service circulation, WiFi

Seats/study places