Blue Plaque for Mrs Humphry Ward

Blue Plaque re Mrs Humphry WardOn 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. 

Somerville and The Great War

Archive material by its nature needs to be preserved and protected so that it is available in perpetuity for future generations.  This means that most of the time, the archive material is locked away with limited access for scholars.  Occasionally, however, exhibitions are mounted to bring the material to a wider audience.  Somerville graduate student Teresa Franco, has created an exhibition from materials in Somerville’s archive to accompany an international conference at the Taylor Institution, Oxford on Italy and the Great War.   Here are a few photos from the exhibition. which can be found in the Taylor Institution Voltaire Room until April 27th 2012.

Use of copyright materials written by Vera Brittain by kind permission of her estate. 

Opening of Darbishire (East as was)

As the opening of the new ROQ buildings grows nearer, it seems appropriate to show the opening ceremony of a Somerville building from years gone by.  This is an informal snap taken at the 1935 opening of the East Quadrangle (now know as Darbishire).  The ceremony took place at the Gaudy for that year, when Dorothy L Sayers happened to be Chairman of the Somerville Association.  She can be glimpsed, third from the right,  turning round to talk to someone in the back row.  DLS immortalised this particular Gaudy in her novel Gaudy Night written the following year,  which was set in  fictional Shrewsbury College – a thinly disguised Somerville!

Twelfth Night

12thnightThere 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!

Demeter 1904

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.