July 4th 2013 marked the hundredth anniversary of the opening of Regent’s University’s Tate Library. Originally the library of Bedford College, University of London, the library was paid for by a £10,000 donation (over £1,000,000 in modern terms) in memory of Sir Henry Tate. It was designed by Sidney Smith, who also designed part of Tate Britain.
The collection grew, and in 1932 the library was divided into two floors. The reading room windows, a memorial to Bedford College’s founder, were unfortunately destroyed in World War Two. Sadly, another air raid in 1941 cost the life of Jessie Agnes Paterson, who had served as Librarian since the opening of the Tate.
Bedford took their library collection with them in 1985, but they left the beautiful Tate itself to house the library of what was to become Regent’s University London. Over the past 30 years, successive Regent’s librarians and their teams have built up the print and electronic collections, and the library’s resources and service now reflect Regent’s status as a modern university.
In the same year that the Tate marked one hundred unbroken years as a higher education library, a new floor of modern, flexible study space was added. As Regent’s University library changes and develops to meet the needs of a modern university and its students, we know that the historical Tate Library will always be at the heart of our service, as the plaque above its entrance reads: “As a treasure house of learning and for the goodly fellowship of students”
- Andy Horton, Deputy Library Manager
Images provided courtesy of Royal Holloway University of London Archives.