Somerville College, Oxford
|Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford
|College name||Somerville College|
|Motto||Donec rursus impleat orbem
(translated: Until it should fill the world again)
|Named after||Mary Somerville|
|Previously named||Somerville Hall (1879-1894)|
|Sister college||Girton College, Cambridge|
|Location||Woodstock Road, Oxford|
Location of Somerville College within central OxfordCoordinates:
|Blazon||Argent, three mullets in chevron reversed gules, between six crosses crosslet fitched sable.|
Somerville College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall, it was one of the first women's colleges in Oxford. Today, around 50% of students are male. The first male students were admitted to the college in 1994. The college is located at the southern end of Woodstock Road, with Little Clarendon Street to the south and Walton Street to the west.
In June 1878, the Association for the Higher Education of Women was formed, aiming for the eventual creation of a college for women in Oxford. Some of the more prominent members of the association were Dr. G. G. Bradley, Master of University College, T. H. Green, a prominent liberal philosopher and Fellow of Balliol College, and Edward Stuart Talbot, Warden of Keble College. Talbot insisted on a specifically Anglican institution, which was unacceptable to most of the other members. The two parties eventually split, and Talbot's group founded Lady Margaret Hall.
Thus, in 1879, a second committee was formed to create a college "in which no distinction will be made between students on the ground of their belonging to different religious denominations." This second committee included Dr. John Percival, Dr. G. W. Kitchin, A. H. D. Ackland, T. H. Green, Mary Ward, William Sidgwick, Henry Nettleship, and A. G. Vernon Harcourt. This new effort resulted in the founding of Somerville Hall, named for the then recently deceased Scottish Mathematician Mary Somerville. The hall was renamed Somerville College in 1894.
Somerville College was converted into a military hospital during World War I as Somerville Section of the 3rd Southern General Hospital. Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon were patients there. Sassoon opens Siegfried's Progress with a reference to the college.
Somerville remained a women's college until 1992, when its statutes were amended to permit male students and fellows; the first male fellows were appointed in 1993, and the first male students admitted in 1994 with an intake 50% male/female, a gender balance maintained to this day.
In 2011 student satisfaction was rated in some categories as the highest in the university>
For the academic year 2011/12, the college came 27th out of 30 in the Norrington Table.
Somerville is well known for is regarded as being one of the more liberal colleges in the university. Despite its most famous alumna, Margaret Thatcher, being a Conservative, it is regarded as a left-wing college and has a socially diverse intake.
Central to the college is its large quad, which most accommodation blocks back on to; it is often filled with students in summer. It is also one of the only Oxbridge colleges, where students (as opposed to just fellows) can walk on the grass.
Principals of the college
- Madelaine Shaw-Lefèvre (Principal of Somerville Hall 1879–1889)
- Agnes Catherine Maitland (Principal of Somerville Hall 1889–1894, Principal of Somerville College 1894–1906)
- Dame Emily Penrose (1906–1926) — classical scholar
- Margery Fry (1927–1930) — social reformer
- Helen Darbishire (1930–1945) — literary scholar
- Dame Janet Vaughan (1945–1967) — haematologist and radiobiologist
- Barbara Craig (1967–1980)
- Daphne Park, Baroness Park of Monmouth (1980–1989)
- Catherine Pestell (1989–1991, as Catherine Hughes 1991–1996)
- Dame Fiona Caldicott (1996–2010)
- Alice Prochaska (2010–)
Somerville alumnae have achieved an impressive number of “firsts” - the most distinguishable being that of the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher. Also the first, and only, British woman to win a Nobel prize in science Dorothy Hodgkin; the highest ranking female officer of her time in the British intelligence services (the Queen of Spies) Daphne Park; and also the first woman to lead the world’s largest democracy Indira Gandhi, who was Prime Minister of India for much of the 1970s.
- Manel Abeysekera, diplomat
- Alyson Bailes, former British ambassador and Director of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
- Vera Brittain, novelist
- Dame Averil Cameron, professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History and former Warden of Keble College
- Dame Kay Davies, human geneticist
- Susie Dent, television presenter
- Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, novelist
- Philippa Foot, philosopher and ethicist
- Margaret Forster, author
- Indira Gandhi, former prime minister of India
- Maggie Gee, author
- Helen Goodman, Labour politician
- Celia Green, philosopher and author
- Nia Griffith, Labour politician
- Dorothy Hodgkin, Nobel Prize winner for her discovery of the structure of Vitamin B12
- Winifred Holtby, novelist
- Ethel Hurlbatt, former principal of Bedford College, London and former warden of Royal Victoria College, Montreal
- Sarah Ioannides, music director and conductor
- Margaret Jay, Baroness Jay of Paddington, Labour Party politician and life peer
- Kathleen Kenyon (1906–1978), archaeologist
- Dame Emma Kirkby, classical singer
- Frances Lincoln (1945–2001), publisher
- Genevieve Lloyd, philosopher and feminist
- Rose Macaulay, novelist
- Kara Miller (1977-), writer and director, Breakthrough Brits award winner
- Peter Morris (playwright), (1973-)
- Iris Murdoch, novelist
- Kathleen Ollerenshaw, mathematician
- Onora O'Neill, Kantian philosopher and member of the House of Lords
- Daphne Park, Baroness Park of Monmouth, spy
- Esther Rantzen, journalist and children's welfare ambassador
- Michèle Roberts (1949–), writer
- Tessa Ross (1961-), BAFTA award winning film executive
- Emma Georgina Rothschild (1948–), economic historian
- Dorothy L. Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey books and translator of Dante's Divina Commedia.
- Caroline Series (entry in German version of Wikipedia), mathematician
- Matthew Skelton, writer (1971–)
- Frances Stewart, development economist
- Cornelia Sorabji, first female Indian barrister, social reformer, and writer
- Hilary Spurling, journalist and biographer
- Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, Conservative Party Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1979-90 and life peer
- Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, Liberal Democrats politician and life peer
- Olive Willis (1877–1964), founder of Downe House
- Audrey Withers (1905–2001), editor of Vogue
- Fasi Zaka, TV personality, Critic, Journalist.
- "Undergraduate numbers by college 2011-12". University of Oxford.
- History of Somerville College, Oxford
- "Oxford College Endowment Incomes, 1973-2006". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. (updated July 2007)[dead link]
- Somerville soars in satisfaction survey
- Norrington Table 2011/12
- As the statutes of the College did not permit the Principal to marry, Miss Pestell resigned, married and was re-elected as Principal; however there was a two-week period when the College had no Principal.
- Drusilla Beyfus, 'Withers [married names Stewart, Kennett], (Elizabeth) Audrey (1905–2001), magazine editor' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2005)
- Somerville for Women: an Oxford College 1879–1993, Pauline Adams (Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-920179-X.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Somerville College, Oxford.|
- Official website
- JCR website
- MCR website
- The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford
- Somerville Music Society
- Somerville Boat Club Website