||Euston; Warren Street; Russell Square.
||Saturday, Sunday, Monday : Closed.
Tuesday-Friday : 10.00-17.00
||Free WiFi (get code at reception); 2 computers.
|Chances of getting a seat
||Beautiful; quiet; individual sockets per seat.
||Locker system; registration required; lies, lies, lies.
Euston is uniquely miserable, and for some reason packed with amazing libraries. Within a five-minute walk you have the British Library and the Wellcome Library – and then this, almost exactly halfway between them. It’s located directly opposite Euston station, so if you get hungry you can pop over the road and fight with desperate commuters for the last dry baguette.
The building itself is a Quaker Meeting House – there’s a garden outside (currently under refurbishment), a cafe and a restaurant. Everyone here smiles constantly and exudes a mysterious glow. Immediately after I sat down to start work the fire alarm went off, and I found myself standing in the street with fifty unflappable Quakers. While I was worrying about my laptop bag being stolen, they were all chatting away like it was the best thing that had ever happened to them.
The library is through the corridor to the left of the main reception desk. It’s the only resource in the UK with information on the Quaker faith and its followers – which touches on history, geography, sociology… everything, apparently.
It’s small, warm, and absolutely lovely – all wooden mezzanine floors and old framed portraits. They still have, and still use, a proper library card catalogue, although the librarian told me they’ve been trying to replace it for the last two years. They have two computers, and about 24 desk spaces – each of which comes with its own socket. Kerching! All that’s required is that you register as a user, which isn’t surprising. You do need a proof of address, which luckily I had anyway. Under “Purpose of Visit”, I decided to say I was a postgraduate and was using the library for a bit of research.
This was a mistake.
“What is it you’re researching?”
Oh god. “Er… London history?”
“What part of London history?”
There followed two minutes of questioning where I proved myself as convincing a historian as I am a mermaid and which was utterly excruciating for everyone involved. Somehow though – and Christ only knows how – I managed to get a library card. It lasts for four years. Apparently from this point on it’s just a case of signing yourself in each time you come in and they leave you to it, but I still felt that distinct taste of shame in my mouth that comes from lying to really nice people and not even doing it very well.
You have to leave your stuff in lockers in the corridor outside, which is frustrating but understandable. You also have to get the day’s WiFi code from the reception desk, which is probably worth doing on your way in to save some time. Regardless, this is a really lovely place to work – even more surprising that it’s almost empty. Compared to the madness of the British Library, it’s like a small haven – just maybe have a decent cover story before you go in. Or stop lying and go to the British Library, you monster.