Visiting the cloistered world of Heythrop College

I’ve just been to possibly the strangest of the University of London colleges. Heythrop College is tucked away on Kensington Square just down the road from the offices of the Rothermere Press on Derry Street. First, I tried to find somewhere to lock the bike…I was thinking “university college, surely there must be some bike racks somewhere. Alas no. I eventually found some railings that didn’t have the obligatory sign reading “DO NOT CHAIN BICYCLES TO THESE RAILINGS. ALL BICYCLES WILL BE REMOVED”. With the bike locked up, I walked up the stone steps, pressed the bell, looked into the camera and was buzzed in. I asked the receptionist (yes, there is a single receptionist on duty) for directions to the philosophy library (there’s a theology library too). It was like stepping into an old abbey or a monastery; it even had a dining room…not a refectory, a canteen or a sandwich bar/bistro but a dining room!  No fancy name like “Oscars”, just a ‘dining room’. The philosophy library was a pair of small rooms off a corridor leading to Student Services. There I found a single member of staff; he took his time acknowledging me. Bold as brass, I produced my SCONUL card and my UEL ID and asked to join. It all went well until he asked me if I had a photo.  Oops! I hadn’t expected this.  The university libraries that I’ve joined have all had digital imaging facilities (er, a webcam) but this place had none. I realised that time was marching on and coming home, digging out a photo and returning post haste to Heythrop was  a non-starter. I gave up and went home.

Heythrop College is federated with the University of London. It is a specialist theological and philosophical college. It is located next to a small church that has a convent attached. I don’t know if they are connected in any way.  I only went here because it’s the nearest university library to where I live (Roehampton being a little further away than the latter) and I needed to have a quick browse of some books on research.   I have decided to send off my last assignment for my research module pretty much as it is. I’ll have one last look at it to make sure there are no bad typos first.

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