Author Archives: CollegeinWar

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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January 1918: Miss Emily Penrose, OBE

On 1st January 1918, the Principal of Somerville College Emily Penrose was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She received it in recognition of her work on the National Register, undertaken in 1915 with, it … Continue reading

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December 1917: The Oxford Bed

In the Michaelmas term of 1917, Somervillians began fundraising for the New Hospital for Women. By this stage of the war, medical provision for the civilian population was under severe strain, as military requirements took precedent in the deployment of … Continue reading

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November 1917: Entertaining the Troops

Regular readers of this blog will know how much it owes to the Somerville Students’ Association (SSA) annual reports of the period and, in particular, to the list of members and their war work, which was included in the report … Continue reading

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October 1917: Winifred Holtby arrives at Somerville

By October 1917, Vera Brittain was nursing at the No.24 General Hospital at Étaples and her future friend and fellow author, Winifred Holtby, was settling in as a new student at Somerville College. Winifred Holtby came up to Oxford to … Continue reading

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September 1917: Rev. Constance Coltman

In September 1917, Constance Coltman became the first British woman to be ordained in one of the mainstream Protestant churches, when she became a Congregationalist minister. Constance Todd’s father, George, was a headmaster and her mother Emily had been among … Continue reading

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August 1917: “Miss Sorabji’s Work in India”

“Of all the varying forms of war-work on which members of the SSA are engaged perhaps none is more valuable or more interesting than Miss Sorabji’s.” SSA Annual Report 1917 Cornelia Sorabji was a student at Somerville between 1889 and … Continue reading

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