This guide is for visitors to our study rooms who have disabilities. It describes access to, and facilities in, the National Art Library and the Prints & Drawings Study Room which are located in the V&A at South Kensington. It also describes access to, and facilities in, the Blythe House Reading Room, which houses our archives collections, including our theatre and performance collections archives. The Blythe House Reading Room is located at Blythe Road, near Olympia.
Getting to the V&A South Kensington and accessible parking
For information on how to reach the V&A at South Kensington by public transport, car, taxi or Dial-a-Ride, including information on parking facilities, please visit Disability and access.
Getting to the study rooms
Our study rooms are housed in a variety of historic buildings. This means that access for those who are mobility impaired or using a wheelchair is variable. The museum sites are becoming increasingly physically accessible with the installation of ramps, lifts and automatic doors in various locations; however, it may be some time before all of our study rooms are as accessible as we would like. In the meantime, we provide alternative entrances for wheelchair-users.
If you require an escort, you can book one in advance by contacting the Bookings Office on: +44 (0)20 7942 2211, text phone +44 (0)20 7942 2002, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The V&A digital map shows the locations of lifts, galleries and accessible toilets described in this guide.
Getting to the National Art Library
The National Art Library is situated on Level 3 of the V&A South Kensington. The main entrance to the library has two flights of steps (Stair L on the museum map).
An accessible entrance to the library is located in Gallery 76 on Level 3. This entrance is reached by Lift F located off the Sculpture Gallery (21) on Level 1 (the ground floor). To use this entrance, you may either ask for an escort at the main entrance, or find the gallery assistant on duty when you get to Gallery 76 and ask them to let you in, or knock on the door and Library staff will let you in.
Please note that Gallery 76 is being refurbished. Wheelchair users can access the Library's collections via the Prints & Drawings Study Room. Please contact us in advance of your visit. More information can be found on the V&A blog.
The two reading rooms in the library are level with a wide central access way. There are two islands of desks in the Centre Room (seat nos. 15 – 26) which are 60 cm high. All other desks are 66 cm high. A height adjustable table is also available.
Getting to the Prints & Drawings Study Room
The Prints & Drawings Study Room and the RIBA Architecture Study Room are on Level 4 of the Henry Cole Wing of the main building and are accessible to all visitors using Lift Y on Level 0. This lift can be reached from the main entrance via Galleries 17 – 20 and Ramp A or the exhibition road entrance via the Blavatnik Gallery and the exhibition shop. The entrance into the study rooms is wheelchair accessible with powered doors.
Study tables are designed for wheelchair users to use comfortably. There is also a height adjustable table in the RIBA Study Rooms area. This needs to be booked in advance by contacting the study room on +44 (0)20 7942 2563, or contact us online.
Accessible toilets are located on levels 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 and are indicated on the museum map.
The closest accessible toilets to the National Art Library are located on Level 3, off the Silver Galleries (65 – 70a). Exit the library through Gallery 76.
The closest accessible toilets to the Prints & Drawings Study Room are located on Level 0 in the Sackler Centre which is a short distance from Lift J.
Visual and hearing impairment
Assistance dogs are welcome in all of our study rooms.
The study room security desk is equipped with hearing induction loops. Please switch your hearing aid to the 'T' position to use this facility.
The Study Rooms provide free access to Windows computers and settings can be adapted to suit needs.
Our freestanding 'Twinkle' unit magnifies images and text in books and other printed material. Magnifying glasses are also available on request.
You can order books in advance of your visit to the National Art Library through the NAL Catalogue. You can order up to 8 items at a time, but more items can be ordered for readers with disabilities on request.
Using the study room catalogues
If you require help searching for or ordering material using any of the catalogues in the study rooms, please ask staff who will be happy to help you find and order what you need.
Delivery of material to your desk
Please let us know if you need help carrying items to and from your desk; staff will be happy to assist you.
Readers with a disability may make an accessible copy in any format unless already commercially available.
If you find it difficult to use the book or microfilm scanners, please seek assistance from a member of staff.
The Copyright Act allows the copying of complete works by or for visually impaired persons (VIPs) under certain conditions. VIPs includes those with a physical impairment restricting their ability to hold or manipulate a book. This exception to the Copyright Act applies as long as the VIP is in lawful possession or has lawful access to the original copy of a work, that the copy created is in a different, accessible format, and that the accessible format isn't already commercially available. For more information or advice, please ask staff who will contact the NAL Copyright Officer.
Evacuation procedures in case of an emergency
In the event of an emergency evacuation, please contact staff if you have a mobility impairment and cannot use the stairs. You will be escorted to the designated refuge point where security staff will be alerted to evacuate you to safety.
If your needs cannot be met by the services and facilities described above, please contact us and we will be happy to help you in any way we can.
National Art Library
V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Contact us online
Prints & Drawings Study Room
V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7942 2563 or contact us online
Getting to the Blythe House Archive & Library Study Room, Olympia
The Blythe House Archive & Library Study Room is located at Blythe Road, near Olympia. Access to the study room is by appointment. The entrance is at Gate B, and is accessible via a ramp and a wheelchair lift for visitors who are unable to use the stairs. There is an accessible toilet located near the Study Room. Desks in the Study Room are 72cm high and none are height adjustable. If these facilities do not meet your needs please let us know when you make your appointment and we will be happy to help in any way we can.
Contact Blythe House Reading Room, Olympia
Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, London, W14 OQX
Contact us online, or telephone as below:
- Archive of Art and Design: +44 (0)20 7942 2303
- Beatrix Potter Collections: +44 (0)20 7602 0281 ext. 212
- V&A Archive: +44 (0)20 7602 5886
- Theatre and Performance Collections Archives email: email@example.com