Author Archives: CollegeinWar

November 1918: “So it has come at last! What a day this has been.”

‘The news of the Armistice reached Oxford soon after 11 am. This was the signal for an outburst of patriotic enthusiasm chiefly manifest in the ringing of the bells of Oxford, the display of the flags of the Allies from … Continue reading

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October 1918: War and Peace

The Somerville Council met twice in October 1918, an extraordinary meeting on the 8th, primarily to discuss Miss Lorimer’s leave of absence and again on October 22nd to conduct college business and the issues which had arisen over the summer … Continue reading

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September 1918: Lorimer of the F.O.

Hilda Lorimer, Somerville’s Classics Tutor, was renowned as a scholar of Homeric archaeology. She had travelled extensively in Greece before the war and in 1917 she spent six months as an orderly with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, in the Salonika … Continue reading

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August 1918: All quiet on the Oxford front

By August 1918, the tide of the war was turning, with the launch of an Allied offensive in Flanders and the last Zeppelin raid on England on August 5th. Meanwhile, rationing and shortages permitting, life carried on in Somerville. The … Continue reading

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July 1918: The Long View

In July 1918, Winifred Holtby was beginning her national service having enlisted in Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Like Vera Brittain three years earlier, she had found it impossible to continue her studies at Somerville but her enlistment in the … Continue reading

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June 1918: The Somerville Section Album

“The Principal was authorised to have a few photographs taken of Somerville College as at present used.” Council minutes, 4 June 1918 In June 1918, Somerville commissioned a photographer to record the college in its wartime role as a hospital. … Continue reading

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May 1918: the Business Girls’ Club

Somerville had many thriving societies before and during the First World War – sporting, debating, artistic and philanthropic, including the WUS (Women’s University Settlement) and a college branch of the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association). From 1887, students had volunteered for … Continue reading

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April 1918: Conflicting Calls of Duty

In April 1918, Vera Brittain returned from France to London. She had been posted to the No. 24 General Hospital at Étaples in August 1917. It was close to the front and frantically busy and by April 1918 the German … Continue reading

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March 1918: Votes and Degrees

“… all women who have been admitted to and passed the final examination, and kept the period of residence necessary for a man to obtain a degree at a University, are entitled, provided they have attained the age of 30 … Continue reading

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February 1918: Leading the Way

On 6 February 1918, the Representation of the People Act extended the right to vote to all men aged over 21 and, for the first time, to some women. To qualify, the women had to be over 30, own property … Continue reading

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