Being in my first year, I’ve been living in Wilson House over the past year. It’s been a great experience, and I’ll be sad to move out in a few weeks.
One of the things I was most apprehensive about before moving-in day was where I would be living within Wilson House. Rumour had it that Wilson had a basement floor, and I didn’t want to be living down there – with no natural light or windows I was sure I’d quickly degrade into a Vitamin-D-deficient hermit.
A few weeks before term began, I received an invoice from the Imperial Accommodation office for my room at Wilson for the term. It included the cryptic message ‘Accommodation fees for WH7001′ as part of the invoice description. After a bit of searching around on Facebook and finding some responses from previous Wilson residents, I came to find an explanation that the 7001 was a room number, split into two halves: the ’70′ was the house number (Wilson House is a converted terrace) and ’01′ was the room number within each ‘house’, where ’01′ to ’03′ were on the basement, ’04′ to ’06′ were on the ground floor, and so on up to the second floor.
I imagine I must have paled slightly at this revelation, and tried to put it out of my mind, not willing to accept it. I didn’t want to live in subterranea! I wanted a second floor room with a nice view over London, or a ground floor room that I could get to easily without having to use stairs.
It came to moving-in day, and a third year senior led me to my room. It was, as I feared, located in the basement. At first I was disappointed, having to live on a dim, artificially-lit corridor. My room did at least have a window facing out into a small courtyard, so I did get natural light into my room, but I still felt like I was missing out on a view over London.
It turns out that the basement is probably the best place to be located. In that moving-in week in October, it was stiflingly hot, and people were frantically plugging in fans and attempting to force windows open beyond their restrictors in order to stay cool. Not in the basement, though. Being below street level, and also inward-facing (as opposed to looking out onto the street side) my room was nice and cool.
With the recent spate of hot weather again (it’s still 20°C right now at gone 11pm, for instance) I have once again been reminded how nice it is to live in a basement room. I didn’t even know how hot it was until I had to go somewhere mid-afternoon and discovered it to be 24°C.
Of course the other great advantage of living in a basement room is that the basement is not a main thoroughfare for people, so you don’t get too many rowdy groups crashing past your room in the early hours of the morning.
Amenities are also easily accessible. I have a bathroom right next to my room, and my kitchen is a short walk down the corridor. Because of the slightly arcane design of Wilson House, people on the first and second floor can’t walk between houses, and have to go down to the ground floor then back up again to do so. In the basement, you can walk along the full half of the building which your room is in (although to cross halves, you have to go up to the ground floor, then back down again).
Also in terms of walking, being in the basement is ideal. You have to walk up a single flight of steps in the morning to leave, but at the evening you can simply descend leisurely after a long day. Contrast this with living on the first or second floor – you walk downstairs in the morning but have to walk back upstairs in the evening.
In summary, it really is nice to live on a basement floor. I wouldn’t change it if I had to do it again, and if you have the choice I’d seriously consider it.