Author Archives: CollegeinWar

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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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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