St Hilda's College, Oxford

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St Hilda's College
Sthildas south building.JPG
South Building
St Hilda's College, Oxford arms.svg
Arms: Azure, on a fess or three estoiles gules in chief two unicorns' heads couped, in base a coiled serpent argent.
LocationCowley Place
Coordinates51°44′57″N 1°14′43″W / 51.749162°N 1.245334°W / 51.749162; -1.245334Coordinates: 51°44′57″N 1°14′43″W / 51.749162°N 1.245334°W / 51.749162; -1.245334
Latin nameCollegium Sanctae Hildae
Mottonon frustra vixi (I lived not in vain)
Named forHilda of Whitby
Sister collegePeterhouse, Cambridge
PrincipalProfessor Sarah Springman
Undergraduates400[1] (2011/2012)
Major eventsSt Hilda's College Ball
St Hilda's College, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
St Hilda's College, Oxford
Location in Oxford city centre

St Hilda's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford[3] in England. The college is named after the Anglo-Saxon Saint, Hilda of Whitby and was founded in 1893 as a hall for women; it remained a women's college until 2008.[4] St Hilda's was the last single-sex college in the university as Somerville College had admitted men in 1994.[4] The college now has almost equal numbers of men and women at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The principal of the college is Professor Sarah Springman, who took office in 2022.[5]

As of 2018, the college had an endowment of £52.1 million and total assets of £113.4 million.[6]


St Hilda's was founded by Dorothea Beale (who was also a headmistress at Cheltenham Ladies' College) in 1893, as St Hilda's Hall and recognised by the Association for the Education of Women as a women's hall in 1896.[7] It was founded as a women's college, a status it retained until 2008. Whilst other Oxford colleges gradually became co-educational, no serious debate at St Hilda's occurred until 1997, according to a former vice-principal, and then the debate solely applied to the issue of staff appointments.[8] After a vote on 7 June 2006 by the Governing Body,[4] men and women can be admitted as fellows and students. This vote was pushed through with a narrow margin and followed previous unsuccessful votes. This led to protests from students because of the "high-handed" manner in which they were held.[9]

In October 2007 a supplemental charter was granted and in 2008 male students were admitted to St Hilda's for the first time. The college now has almost equal numbers of men and women at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In August 2018, the interim Norrington Table showed that 98 per cent of St Hilda's finalist undergraduates obtained at least a 2.i in their degree.[10]

Women's rowing[edit]

St Hilda's was the first women's college in Oxford and Cambridge to create a women's VIII in 1911. It was St Hilda's student H.G. Wanklyn who formed OUWBC and coxed in the inaugural Women's Boat Race of 1927, with five Hilda's rowers. In 1969, the St Hilda's Eight made Oxford history when they became the first ever female crew to row in the Summer Eights. They placed 12th.[11]


St Hilda's students were the subject of the Channel 4 documentary series College Girls, broadcast in 2002.[12]

Buildings and grounds[edit]

Milham Ford Building by the River Cherwell

The college is located at the eastern end of the High Street, Oxford, over Magdalen Bridge, in Cowley Place, making it the only University of Oxford college lying east of the River Cherwell. It is the most conveniently situated Oxford college for the Iffley Road Sports Complex, a focus for Oxford University Sport.[citation needed]


Its grounds include six major buildings, which contain student accommodation, teaching areas, dining hall, the library and administration blocks. The first building occupied by the hall was Cowley House built by Humphrey Sibthorp. Together with later extensions it is now known as Hall. In 1921 the hall acquired the lease of Cherwell Hall, now known as South, which was originally Cowley Grange, a house built by A. G. Vernon Harcourt.[7] The lease of Milham Ford, a former school between Hall and South, was acquired in 1958.[13] More recent additions are Wolfson (opened in 1964), Garden (by Alison and Peter Smithson, opened in 1971), and the Christina Barratt Building (opened in 2001).[14] In Autumn 2020, a new Boundary Building replaced some of the older buildings, while Milham Ford, which was demolished in 2018, was replaced by a new riverside "Pavilion".[15][16] The college also owns a number of properties on Iffley Road, and in the Cowley area.[17]

The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building[edit]

The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building

The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building (JdP) is a concert venue named after the famous cellist who was an honorary fellow of the college. The JdP was the first purpose-built concert hall to be built in Oxford since the Holywell Music Room in 1742. Built in 1995 by van Heyningen and Haward Architects, it houses the Steinway-equipped Edward Boyle Auditorium and a number of music practice rooms. In 2000 the architects designed a new, enlarged foyer space; a lean-to glass structure along the front elevation to the existing music building. In addition to frequent recitals presented by the St Hilda's Music Society, the JdP also hosts concerts by a number of world-renowned performers. Musicians who have performed in the JdP in recent years include Steven Isserlis, the Jerusalem Quartet, the Chilingirian Quartet and the Belcea Quartet. The building has also been used for amateur dramatic performances, since 2008 St Hilda's College Drama Society have been producing several plays a year in the Edward Boyle Auditorium.[citation needed]


The college grounds stretch along the banks of the River Cherwell, with many college rooms overlooking the river and playing fields beyond. The college has its own fleet of punts, which students of the college may use free of charge in summer months. Unfortunately, this location at times led to problems with flooding in the former Milham Ford building.[citation needed]

People associated with the college[edit]


Name Birth Death Principal Between Notes
Esther Elizabeth Burrows 18 October 1847 20 February 1935 1893–1910 [18]
Christine Mary Elizabeth Burrows 4 January 1872 10 September 1959 1910–1919 [18]
Winifred Moberly 1 April 1875 6 April 1928 1919–1928 [19]
Julia de Lacy Mann 22 August 1891 23 May 1985 1928–1955 [20]
Kathleen Major 10 April 1906 19 December 2000 1955–1965 [20]
Mary Bennett 9 January 1913 1 November 2005 1965–1980
Mary Moore 8 April 1930 6 October 2017 1980–1990 [20]
Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith 17 August 1934 1990–2001 [21]
Judith English 1 March 1940 2001–2007 [21]
Sheila Forbes 31 December 1946 2007–2014
Gordon Duff 27 December 1947 2014–2021
Georgina Paul (acting) 2021–2022 [22]
Sarah Springman 26 December 1956 2022–date

Former students[edit]


Honorary fellows[edit]



  1. ^ "Undergraduate numbers by college 2011-12". University of Oxford.
  2. ^ "St Hilda's College, Graduate prospectus". University of Oxford.
  3. ^ "St Hilda's College | University of Oxford". Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "St Hilda's College to admit men". 7 June 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  5. ^ "St Hilda's College announce election of a new Principal". Oxford University. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  6. ^ "St Hilda's College : Annual Report and Financial Statements : Year ended 31 July 2018" (PDF). p. 25. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b "St. Hilda's College". British History Online. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  8. ^ Hilda Brown "Sex and the Hildabeast", Times Higher Education [Supplement], 7 March 2003
  9. ^ Peter Foster (4 December 2003). "St Hilda's college votes to remain women-only".
  10. ^ "2017/18 Interim Norrington Table". Retrieved 22 February 2019. St Hilda's 1st 37 2.1 69 2.2 2 3rd 0 Other 0 Total 108
  11. ^ "1969 - St Hilda's Make Rowing History - St. Hilda's College Boat Club". Archived from the original on 25 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  12. ^ Anthea Milnes "No men please, we're studying" The Guardian, 5 September 2002
  13. ^ "Pictorial Timeline". St Hilda's College, Oxford. Retrieved 20 August 2020. 1958 Milham Ford Building was leased
  14. ^ "The Buildings". St Hilda's College, Oxford. Archived from the original on 2 July 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ "Transforming our Site". St Hilda's College, Oxford. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  16. ^ "St. Hilda's College is creating a new public entrance sequence of spaces with the new Boundary Building and Riverside Pavilion at its riverside location". Solid Engineering. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Accommodation: Undergraduates". St Hilda's College Oxford. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  18. ^ a b Margaret Addison; Jean O'Grady (30 November 1999). Diary of a European Tour, 1900. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-7735-6800-6.
  19. ^ Margaret E. Rayner, ‘Moberly, Winifred Horsbrugh (1875–1928)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Sept 2015'
  20. ^ a b c Aston, T. H. (7 April 1994). The History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century. Clarendon Press. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0-19-822974-2.
  21. ^ a b "College History - Founder and Principals". St Hilda's College. University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  22. ^ "Dr Georgina Paul will be Acting Principal of St Hilda's College 1 April 2021 - 31 January 2022". St Hilda's College, Oxford. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  23. ^ ""Bangun Pemuda Pemudi" Bangkitkan Semangat Pelajar Indonesia". Indonesian Education and Culture Attaché in London. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Congratulations to our alumna Celine Rattray on the fifth anniversary of Maven Pictures". St Hilda's College, Oxford. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2018.

External links[edit]