Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
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|Lady Margaret Hall|
|University of Oxford|
Blazon: Or, on a chevron between in chief two talbots passant and in base a bell azure a portcullis of the field.
|Motto||Souvent me Souviens
("I often remember")
|Named for||Lady Margaret Beaufort|
|Sister college||Newnham College, Cambridge|
Lady Margaret Hall, referred to as LMH by students is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located on the banks of the River Cherwell at Norham Gardens in north Oxford. The college is more formally known under its current royal charter as "The Principal and Fellows of the College of the Lady Margaret in the University of Oxford".
The college was founded in 1878 as the first women's college in Oxford, and began admitting men in 1979. The college has just under 400 undergraduate students, around 200 post graduate students and 24 visiting students. In 2016, the college began offering a Foundation Year for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The college's colours are blue and yellow (sometimes also with white). The college uses a coat of arms; it did not have to have it granted because of an exemption held by all University Colleges from the authority of the College of Arms. The college's motto is "Souvent me Souviens", an Old French phrase meaning "I often remember" and the motto of Lady Margaret Beaufort, for whom the college is named.
The current principal of the college is Alan Rusbridger. Notable students at Lady Margaret Hall include Benazir Bhutto, Michael Gove, Nigella Lawson, Josie Long, Ann Widdecombe and Malala Yousafzai.
- 1 History
- 2 Buildings, grounds and architecture
- 3 Student life
- 4 Foundation year
- 5 Art collection
- 6 Coat of arms
- 7 Culture and traditions
- 8 Notable people
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Lady Margaret Hall, the first women's college in Oxford, was founded in 1878 and opened its doors to its first nine students the following year.
It was founded by Edward Stuart Talbot, then Warden of Keble College, and his wife Lavinia. The college was named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, patron of scholarship and learning. The first principal was Elizabeth Wordsworth, the great-niece of the poet William Wordsworth and daughter of Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln.
The land on which the hall is built was formerly part of the manor of Norham which belonged to the St John's College. The hall bought the land on which it sits from St Johns in 1894, the other institution driving a hard bargain and requiring a development price not only on the practical building land but also on the undevelopable water meadows. However, this land purchase marked a change in ambition from occupying residential buildings for teaching purposes to buildings fitting educational institution with buildings worthy of that ambition.
In 1897, members of Lady Margaret Hall founded the Lady Margaret Hall Settlement, a charitable initiative, originally a place for graduates from the college to live in North Lambeth where they would work with and help develop opportunities for the poor. It continues to operate to this day.
In 1919 J. R.R. Tolkien started to give private tuition to students at Oxford, including members of students from LMH. Later his daughter, Priscilla Tolkien, attended the college, graduating in 1951. Her portrait hangs in the college.
Before 1920, the university refused to give degrees to women and would not acknowledge them as full members of the university. In 1920 the first women graduated from the college at the Sheldonian Theatre and the principal at the time, Henrietta Jex-Blake, was given an honorary degree.
In 1933, Albert Einstein lectured in the college at the yearly Deneke Lectures, concluding the address as follows: "The deeper we search, the more we find there is to know, and as long as humanity exists I believe it will always be so."
Between 1973 and 1977 the future Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was a student at the college, reading Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, in addition to courses in International Law and Diplomacy. A room of the Clore Graduate Centre is bears her name and a portrait of her hangs on the wall.
In 2017 Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize Peace laureate and Pakistani campaigner for girls' education, became a student of the college; she described the interview as "the hardest interview of [her] life", and received an offer of AAA in her A Levels. In the same year, prospective Chemistry student Brian White faced deportation at the hands of the Home Office, but was able to take up his place at the college. Also in 2017, alumnus Paul McClean, a 24-year-old Financial Times journalist who had reported on the scale of treaty renegotiation necessitated by Brexit, was killed by a crocodile while on holiday in Sri Lanka.
Buildings, grounds and architecture
The development of the college's buildings is perhaps best thought of as a zigzag beginning in the 1870s at the end of Norham Gardens and making its way down towards the River Cherwell and then running back towards Norham Gardens forming quadrangles on the return journey. The following account of the buildings moves through the college as these spaces emerge for a visitor entering the college at the Porters' Lodge and walking to the river - because of the way the college developed the dates, along with the styles of the buildings enclosing these quadrangles are not all of a piece.
The entrance quad was completed in March 2017 and includes both the college's newest and oldest buildings. The main entrance consists of the front gates flanked by classical columns along with the porters lodge (2017). On the North West side the Donald Fothergill Building (2017) contains student accommodation while the Clore graduate centre (2017) extends further out to the South East towards university parks.
The college's oldest buildings are along the South East side of the Leatre Quadrangle. The college's original house, a white brick gothic villa, is now known as Old Old Hall (1879), while the adjoining red brick extension is known as New Old Hall (1884).
Opposite the entrance is the imposing Wolfson West (1964) which was previously the entrance to the college.
Old Old Hall, which had been as a speculation property on land leased from St John's College, was described as an "ugly little white villa" by the college's founder, Bishop Talbot in his 1923 history of the college. On several occasions in the twentieth century consideration was given to demolishing the earliest buildings of the college, but the temptation was resisted.
The architect of the main early college buildings was Sir Reginald Blomfield, including Lodge and Talbot and Wordsworth (Blomfield had earlier worked on other educational commissions such as Shrewsbury School, and Exeter College, Oxford) used the French Renaissance style of the 17th century and chose red brick with white stone facings, setting a tone the college was to continue to follow in later work. These buildings describe the south and east of the Wolfson Quadrangle and run out into the gardens to the east.
Blomfield was also involved in establishing and planning the gardens.
The central block, the Talbot Building (1910) on the North East of the main quad houses Talbot Hall and the Old Library (currently a reception and lecture room), while the accommodation for students and tutors is divided between three wings, the Wordsworth Building (1896), the Toynbee Building (1915) and the Lodge Building (1926).
Talbot Hall contains some fine oak panelling donated by former students to honour Elizabeth Wordsworth.
The portraits in the Hall include the work of notable artists; among the portraits of principals are:
- Sir J. J. Shannon's portrait of Dame Elizabeth,
- Philip de Laszlo's of Miss Jex-Blake,
- Sir Rodrigo Moynihan's of Dr Grier
- Maud Sumner's of Miss Sutherland.
In the old Library is a fine marble statue by Edith Bateson.
On the North West is Lynda Grier (1962) housing the college library; this was official opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961. The ground floor of Lynda Grier was originally student accommodation but in 2006 it was converted into a law library it was opened that year by Cherie Blair.The library was of great importance when founded given that women were not permitted to use the Bodleian Library and thus is relatively large for an Oxford college. The Briggs room originally contained the entire archive of rare and antiquarian books, donated to the college over the years however, given its size now of around 2000 books, they are now also stored in the Lawrence Lacerte Rare Books Room in the new Law Library extension on the ground floor. The collection includes a Quran created circa 1600 and a Latin translation of Galileo's Dialogo from 1663.
Lynda Griere and Wolfson West were designed by Raymond Erith.
In recent years the Wolfson Quadrangle has, in contrast to many Oxbridge Quadrangles, has had wild flowers instead of the intensively managed, striped quadrangle lawns found elsewhere.
The back of Lynda Grier forms another quad consisting of an accommodation tower block Sutherland (1971) and the Pipe Partride Building (2010).
Behind this is Sutherland's sister block Katie Lee (1972).
Chapel and Deneke
To the north-east extends the large Deneke block (1932) along with the hall and the college's Byzantine-style chapel where the choir practises and annual carol services are performed. The chapel has simple decoration with several paintings on the walls, and a statue of Margaret Beaufort which lies in the central section of the chapel.
Gardens and grounds
Lady Margaret Hall is one of the few Oxford colleges on the River Cherwell. It is set in spacious grounds (about 12 acres (49,000 m2)).The grounds include a set of playing fields, tennis courts, a punt house, topiary, and large herbaceous planting schemes along with vegetable borders. There is a Fellows' Garden - hidden from view by tall hedgerows - and a Fellow's Lawn, on which walking is forbidden. During the Second World War, the Fellow's Garden was dug up and the students grew vegetables to help with the war effort.
In 2005, the college commissioned John Simpson Architects to prepare a masterplan for the enlargement of LMH.
A new porters lodge, graduate centre and further accommodation was finished in March 2017, modelled after the Porta Maggiore in Rome, in conjunction with the simple façade of the Wolfson West building.
The Junior Common Room ('JCR') is a physical room as well as being the association of the undergraduate members of the hall. It represents its members to the college authorities and facilitates activities, budgets as well as clubs and societies.
Graduate students have similar support from that for the JCR in the Middle Common Room ('MCR').
The Senior Common Room ('SCR') performs similar functions for the dons.
As well as rooms for accommodation, the buildings of Lady Margret Hall include a chapel, a hall, a library, a bar, a gym and common rooms for groups of membership of the college community as described above. Accommodation is usually provided for undergraduates during every year of their study, and provided for some graduates. Members often dine in hall, in which there are informal and formal meals. In contrast to some other colleges, gowns are not worn to formal hall but are at special occasions such as the Scholars' dinner.
Most undergraduate tutorials are carried out in the college, though for some specialist subjects undergraduates may be sent to tutors in other colleges. The college contains lecture theatres, halls, and seminar and coaching rooms.
In addition to university-wide societies, students at Lady Margaret Hall can also join societies specific to the college
LMH's rowing club, Lady Margaret Hall Boat Club ('LMHBC') is the largest sports club within the college. In recent years, the club has won blades in OURCs events multiple times. The Men’s 1st VIII have raced in the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta on several occasions. On occasion, members of the club have rowed in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
The college's boat club has, like other UK Rowing Clubs, distinctive blazers which can be awarded by the club to members who attain membership of certain VIIIs or race with distinction in Summer Eights or Torpids. These blazers have blue and yellow trim and a blue Beaufort portcullis on them, which is the emblem of the boat club and increasingly other sports clubs.
Rowing blades commemorating success in the intercollegiate rowing competitions decorate the walls of the bar - the most recent of which being from 2017 in which the Women's 1st team (W1) bumped on each of the four days of the competition.
There are three men’s football teams as well as a joint LMH-Trinity women’s team.
The competitive 1st XI that recently reached a Cuppers semi-final.
The other sports the hall has teams for, which represent the institution in internal Oxford University competitons, often called 'Cuppers' are:
Lady Margaret Hall is the only Oxford college to offer a foundation year; the scheme recruits students from minority backgrounds with A level grades lower than Oxford entry requirements. Students choose a subject to specialise in, and also take courses in study skills and other general subject areas, with the aim that they progress to an undergraduate degree at the college after a year of study. Pupils live on campus and have access to the same university facilities, both academic and social, as other students.
Modelled after a programme at Trinity College, Dublin, the four-year pilot scheme began in 2016 with ten students, seven of whom went on to study at Oxford, with the other three receiving offers from different Russell Group universities. It was praised by David Lammy, a Labour MP who said the foundation year is "exactly the sort of thing that needs to be done", and by Les Ebdon, director of Office for Fair Access, who described the programme as "innovative and important".
In light of its history, the hall has a collection of portraits of early/distinguished women academics. Early Principals Lynda Grier, Dame Lucy Sutherland and Sally Chilver, along with other members of the college, were keen collectors of contemporary art and bequeathed many of these works to the College.
The college's art collection includes works by:
Coat of arms
The college's coat of arms features devices that recall those associated with its foundation:
- The portcullis is from the arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort
- The bell is a symbol of the Wordsworth family.
- The Talbot dogs represent Edward Talbot
The original coat of arms consisted of three daisies and bore the motto - "Ex solo ad solem" meaning "From the earth to the sun" and can be seen to adorn Talbot hall, and the Wordsworth and Toynbee buildings.
Culture and traditions
The grounds, along with those of Trinity College, Oxford, were the basis for Fleet College in the American author Charles Finch's novel set in Oxford University, The Last Enchantments. A thinly disguised version of the college appeared as "Lady Matilda's College" in an episode of Lewis. Portions of the episode were filmed within the hall. There is a circular wooden bench dedicated to Iris Murdoch in the college gardens where she used to go walking.
Students may not walk on the quadrangle, however there is a custom of permitting them to do so on completion of their final examinations.
LMH is one of nine Oxford colleges to use the 'two-word' Latin grace, this grace is also used by five colleges at the University of Cambridge. The person presiding at High Table says the grace in two parts at formal meals. The first half of the grace, the ante cibum, is said before the meal starts and the second, the post cibum, once the meal's conclusion. It is as follows:
Benedictus benedicat - "May the Blessed One give a blessing"
Benedicto benedicatur - "Let praise be given to the Blessed One" or "Let a blessing be given by the Blessed One"
It was one of the 'Modified Hall' class and it was in service in the South East until December 1963.
Notable fellows and academics
Notable fellows of the college include:
- Dame Lucy Stuart Sutherland
- Ewan McKendrick
- David McDonald
- Alan Rusbridger
- Dame Elizabeth Wordsworth
- Dame Francis Lannon
- Baroness Manningham-Buller
- Robert Stevens
- Guy Stroumsa
- Rhoda Sutherland
- Claudio Sillero-Zubiri
- Barbara Hammond
The college has a number of Visiting Fellows. Holders of this non-salaried role are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, callings and professions. These fellowships are for three years and have included:
- Emma Watson
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Malorie Blackman
- Cornelia Parker
- Francis Habgood
- Sir Rabinder Singh QC
- Mark Simpson
- Jennifer Rohn
- Henry Marsh
- Neil Tennant
- Beeban Kidron
The fellowships are intended to form a bridge between the academic community and the worlds they inhabit.
Alumni of the college (which are termed Senior Members) include:
- James Allen, Formula One commentator
- Diana Athill, publisher's editor
- Gertrude Bell, writer and diplomat
- Nora Beloff, journalist and political writer
- Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan
- Elisabeth Blochmann, educationalist
- Katharine Mary Briggs, writer
- Edith Bülbring, scientist in the field of smooth muscle physiology, one of the first women accepted to the British Royal Society as a fellow, FRS
- Caryl Churchill, playwright
- Danny Cohen, former Controller of BBC One
- Charles C. W. Cooke, journalist and broadcaster
- Donal Coonan, presenter
- Lindsey Davis, novelist
- Vivien Duffield, philanthropist
- Katharine Esdaile (1881–1950), art historian
- Antonia Fraser, writer
- George Hollingbery, politician
- Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
- Eric Greitens, 56th Governor of Missouri, author, former Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, founder of The Mission Continues
- Alethea Hayter, author
- Stephen Hester, former CEO of RBS
- Tim Hetherington, photojournalist
- Baroness Hogg, journalist
- Philip Hollobone, politician
- Richard Howitt, politician
- Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children
- Charlotte Johnson Wahl, artist
- Matthew Jones, actor and musical comedian
- Lucy Kellaway, journalist
- Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent
- Joanna Kennedy, civil engineer
- Francis Lannon, historian and former Principal of Lady Margaret Hall
- Nigella Lawson, journalist and celebrity television cooking show presenter
- Ann Leslie, journalist
- Goodwin Liu, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California, former Rhodes Scholar
- Josie Long, comedian
- Elizabeth Longford, writer
- Elinor Lyon, children's writer
- Eliza Manningham-Buller, former director general of MI5
- Sujata Manohar, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
- Simon Mason, author of juvenile and adult fiction
- Lucasta Miller, writer and critic
- Barbara Mills, former Director of Public Prosecutions
- Priscilla Napier, author
- Pauline Neville-Jones, former Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism
- Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News presenter and journalist
- Michelle Paver, author
- H. F. M. Prescott, historian
- Diana Quick, actress
- Dominic Raab, politician
- Margaret Rawlings, actress
- Johnny Rogan, author and broadcaster
- Victoria Schofield, author
- Frances Stead Sellers, senior writer for the Washington Post
- Conrad Shawcross, artist
- Marie Slocombe, founder of the BBC Sound Archive
- Matthew Taylor, politician
- Ann Trindade, historian
- Malala Yousafzai, youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, female education activist (note: Yousafzai is a current student, not an alumnus)
- Anna Walker, British civil servant
- Baroness Warnock, philosopher
- C. V. Wedgwood, historian
- Samuel West, actor
- Helen Whately, politician
- Ann Widdecombe, politician
- Marina Warner, writer
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