On Saturday 28th April 2012, one of the founders of Somerville College and its first Secretary of Council, Mary Ward (also known as Mrs Humphry Ward) was honoured in Oxford with a Blue Plaque on the house in North Oxford where she lived from 1872-1881. Somerville Principal, Dr Alice Prochaska, spoke to the assembled company about Mary Ward’s contribution to the development of higher education for women and presented the current owners of the house with two portraits of Mary Ward. Amongst the people at the ceremony were three great-grandsons of Mary Ward and two great-great granddaughters.
Use of copyright materials written by Vera Brittain by kind permission of her estate.
Gaudy Night written the following year, which was set in fictional Shrewsbury College – a thinly disguised Somerville!
There was a strong dramatic tradition at Somerville in the first half of the twentieth century with plays being written and performed in College most years. In its dramatic heyday, the College could boast a Second Year play in Michaelmas Term, a First Year play in Hilary and The Going Down Play (by the finalists) in Trinity. This scene is taken from the 1921 production of Twelfth Night. Comments gratefully received from anyone who can identify the actors!
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.