Author Archives: CollegeinWar

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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July 1917: Transportation and the long vacation

In July 1917, Somerville College held its first Vacation Term. There were (and are) strict rules governing residence for students at Oxford, rules with which Somervillians complied (even though they had yet to be admitted as members of the University). One rule was that … Continue reading

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June 1917: Bertha Phillpotts, the inadvertent civil servant

Somerville was the first women’s college in Oxford to attract research funding, with an endowment from Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle in 1912. The Icelandic scholar Bertha Phillpotts, of Girton College Cambridge, became the first Lady Carlisle Research Fellow in 1913. … Continue reading

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May 1917: The view from the home front

The Somerville JCR held two meetings in May 1917. The subjects under discussion included the usual items of college business such as the river rules, the storage of bicycles, noise in the quad and a vote on taking a college … Continue reading

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