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Brotherton Library transformation

Special Collections Research Centre

We are delighted that we are able to extend and refurbish the Special Collections Research Centre, thanks to a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust, refreshing the current research spaces and creating the John Bedford Room.

Architect impression of new mezzanine floor in the West Building

Architect's impression of the new West Building mezzanine floor, housing the John Bedford Room.

The Special Collections Reading Room was built in 1994 and was designed to serve the needs of the individual scholar at that time. In the ensuing 25 years, our Special Collections have grown and so has the way that you approach research – there is new focus on collaborative research.

The new dedicated teaching room can accommodate up to 40 people and will be bookable for both day-time and evening events. The space also boasts a movable partition so there is opportunity to create two rooms for smaller groups.

Individual research areas will also benefit from refurbishment. Whatever your needs, you will be able to access the unique Special Collections materials in welcoming, flexible facilities.

The refurbishment will address feedback regarding the suitability of our space for group work as well as concerns around lighting, comfort and access to plug sockets.

Plans also include a new and inviting entrance area, complete with a break-out area to allow informal interaction and networking, along with collection items on display.

Architect impression of reception area of refurbished special collections research centre

Architect's impression of reception area in the refurbished Special Collections Research Centre

John Bedford was a noted antique dealer and collector who amassed a significant rare and modern book collection on the history of furniture design over a period of 40 years. Alongside the generous bequest which is supporting the extension and refurbishment of the Special Collections Research Centre, he also donated the John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History to the University of Leeds Special Collections to be used in teaching and research.

The new Research Centre is due to open at the start of January 2021.