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Welcome to RSA House

We are open to everyone who shares our vision and values. 

The House has been the intellectual and social home of some of the greatest thinkers and social activists of the past 260 years. Behind our doors today you will find one of the world’s leading public lecture series, extensive archives spanning two centuries, and stunning auditoriums and meeting rooms featuring cutting edge audio visual technology. 

At the heart of it all is a space designed to foster the creative thinking and collaborative action needed to address the challenges of our time - an enlightenment coffeehouse called Rawthmells.

Come in and join the conversation. We hope you will leave with at least one new idea, have at least one stimulating conversation, and meet at least one new person. 

**RSA House, including Rawthmells Coffeehouse, is currently closed for general visits**

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, RSA House - including Rawthmells Coffeehouse - remains closed for visits from Fellows and the public until further notice. Please check our update page for the latest guidance on the RSA's response to the coronavirus.

Normal opening hours: 

Monday - Friday, 8.30 am - 9.00 pm

What's on at RAwthmells

participate in rawthmells' programme

Our programme is designed to encourage serendipity, inspiration, conversation and connection, to turn great ideas into practical action. There are three ways to share your ideas, projects and challenges in the coffeehouse. 

RSA Friday Conversations

Take to the stage to address a challenge, open a conversation or share a project, or take a seat to find out about new and exciting ideas. Every Friday from midday. Do you have something to share?

All Friday Conversations

RSA Displays

Changing displays place a spotlight on the innovative and interesting work of Fellows around the world, share stories from our archive and cutting edge design by Royal Designers for Industry. Find out more, or apply to display.


RSA Breakfast Club

Start the day with a purposeful discussion over breakfast. A monthly opportunity to meet other Fellows, to join or start a conversation around a social challenge, an idea, theory or project and turn ideas into action. 

All Breakfast Clubs

Food and Drink

House caterers CH&Co are committed to maintaining an ethical and sustainable supply chain and being at the forefront of all new ethical developments and requirements in the industry. Our high quality ingredients are sourced and produced in line with best ethical practices, and our waste cooking oils are collected and converted into bio fuels. Working closely with the Marine Conservation Society, we have removed species and associated fishing methods that are the least sustainable from our menus, and actively seek more sustainable sources for all of our seafood.

All Day Menu

From porridge and pancakes to seasonal soups and salads, there's something to fuel everyone's day. Vegan? Gluten free? No problem! Speak to a member of the team to find out what's available for you.

Drinks Menu

Enjoy a variety of wines, London-brewed beer, classic cocktails, spirits (alcoholic and not) with joyful abandon, because profits from the sale of food and drink help fund the RSA’s vital social change programmes.

Spaces in rawthmells

Rawthmells has been designed to facilitate collaboration and enable great ideas to be shared. Some of the spaces in the coffeehouse can be booked for free if you have a good idea worth sharing. Explore the rooms below for more information. 

Please note: In light of the coronavirus outbreak, RSA House - including Rawthmells Coffeehouse - remains closed for visits from Fellows and the public until at least September 2020. Please check our update page for the latest guidance on the RSA's response to the coronavirus.

The Steps

The Steps, a mini-amphitheatre in the heart of the coffeehouse, can be booked by anyone with a social change idea worth sharing. Seating up to 30 people, you can also live broadcast via YouTube or host participatory online events via Zoom in this space.

The Collaboration Room

Designed to support collaborative work of all kinds, this is a free resource to facilitate your plans for social change. Also featuring displays from the RSA's Student Design Awards which challenge students and graduates to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues.

Dr Cross Room

The Dr Cross Room features rotating displays from the RSA's Royal Designers for Industry (RDI), the highest accolade for UK designers. The jet engine, Routemaster bus, iPhone, and Harry Potter film sets, among thousands of other things, have been created by them.

The Gerard Room

Changing displays in the Gerard Room, the first room as you enter the coffeehouse, place a spotlight on the innovative and interesting work of Fellows around the world. Find out more, or apply to display.

The Archive Room

The RSA Archive is maintained in three secure and environmentally controlled strong rooms which protect against atmospheric changes, fire and theft. Facsimiles displayed in this room tell stories from the long history of the organisation.

The Long Gallery

The Long Gallery features an 11 meter long mural telling the story of the RSA. It was created by Andrew Parks, the talented animator behind the RSA Animate series which has helped spread new ideas to a global audience in the millions.

The RSA Library

Over 6,000 books and journals

Over 6,000 books and journals

The library in Rawthmells holds a contemporary collection of over 6,000 books and journals relevant to our work and history. Subject areas include social sciences, psychology and philosophy, management, technology, and art and design. We have an emphasis on material that relates to the RSA’s projects, research, and public events programme. The library offers a freepost lending service!

View the library catalogue

Update on the RSA Library during the House closure

  • In light of the coronavirus outbreak, RSA House and Library remains closed for visits from Fellows and the public until at least September 2020. For more information on the RSA's response to the coronavirus please check our coronavirus update page.
  • Please send any queries about the library by email to
  • During this period, we will not be able to issue loans by post, and we ask you not to return books using our freepost service until further notice.
  • We cannot process library reservations or requests at this time.
  • Loan periods for books currently out on loan will be extended by 6 weeks, if you have a book on loan you will receive an email to confirm the new due date in the coming days.
  • You can renew your books online by logging in to your library account via the library portal. Email if you need help logging in.

Story of the coffeehouse so far

Story of the coffeehouse so far

The RSA was established in an enlightenment coffeehouse, named Rawthmells, in 1754 by a group of people with a shared vision for a better tomorrow. The enlightenment coffeehouses were shaped by those who frequented them, and Rawthmells is no different.

Almost 4,000 Fellows engaged with the question of how the new coffeehouse could contribute to the RSA's mission.

The story of the Coffeehouse

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Where good ideas brew! Rawthmells, the RSA’s enlightenment coffeehouse, a natural home for anyone who wants to change the world #Rawthmells #jointheconversation

Contact us

If you have any questions, or if you are visiting Rawthmells and have any access requirements, please get in touch to let us know ahead of your arrival, so we can ensure the best possible visit:

For more access information, download the Rawthmells accessibility statement.

Janice Johnson

Janice Johnson

Rawthmells and London Events Manager