Gaudy Night written the following year, which was set in fictional Shrewsbury College – a thinly disguised Somerville!
Maude Clarke was a tutor in history at Somerville from 1919 till her early death in 1935. A noted medievalist in a still largely male academic world, she published important and sometimes controversial work on fourteenth century England with a particular focus on constitutional history. We have eight of her publications in the College library but many more books that she gave the College during her sixteen year career at Somerville and on her death. One of her first pupils when she arrived at Somerville was Vera Brittain who based one of the characters in her first novel Dark Tide on Maude Clarke.
Maude Clarke was highly respected by colleagues and students for her charm, wisdom and clarity. She was particularly valued for her contributions to college governance and administration where she combined a sense of due process with a skilful tact and diplomacy.
Maude Clarke’s study in East Quad (now Darbishire) c 1934
Several publicity shots were taken of Somerville life and buildings in about 1933. Here is a scene of two young ladies relaxing in a room at Somerville – perhaps one of the newly built rooms in East Quad (later renamed Darbishire) ? Does anyone recognise it as their room?
An unremarkable view of House, at first glance, taken in high summer. But instead of a student wheeling her bicycle on the right, it’s an injured soldier in his Bath Chair, and hospital beds have been placed in the shade of the tree. This is from a postcard series of ‘No.965 Somerville Section 3rd Southern General Hospital’, issued after the College was requisitioned by the War Office in Hilary, 1915. Somerville was thought particuarly suitable for convalescent officers and was dedicated for this purpose in 1916. Somerville students were rehoused in an empty wing of Oriel College but many volunteered to help at the hospital in their spare time. Some famous patients of the Somerville Section of 3rd Southern General Hospital were Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves.
The cast on the steps of the library loggia, featuring Edith Pearson (1903) as Dis, Octavia Myers (1903) as Persephone & Henrietta Escreet (1903) as Demeter
Demeter was the College Masque, performed to celebrate the opening of the Library in 1904. It was written by Robert Bridges (husband of Margery Fry’s cousin Monica) with music by Sir Henry Hadow, brother of Somervillian Grace Hadow (1900). The librarian, Margery Fry, (later Principal of Somerville) was the producer.
Hall and Maitland shortly after construction almost a hundred years ago and below as it is today. The building was designed by Edward Fisher (brother of historian and politician H.A.L.Fisher) and built in 1913 to house a dining hall, senior common room, private dining room, kitchen and a block of twenty new student rooms and allowed the College to dine together in one place for the first time.