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?