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Emblem of women's emancipation, Emily Wilding Davison celebrated by landmark new Library and Student Services Centre

Posted on 11/01/2017
Emily Wilding Davison (credit: LSE Women's Library)

Emily Wilding Davison (Credit: LSE Library)

Royal Holloway, University of London has announced that its new Library and Student Services Centre will be called the Emily Wilding Davison Building. After a passionate campaign by students, staff and alumni to help choose the name, the university will honour one of Britain’s most famous suffragettes, and Royal Holloway alumna, Emily Wilding Davison.

Opening in early autumn 2017, the Emily Wilding Davison Building, situated opposite Royal Holloway’s iconic Founder’s Building on its Egham campus, will provide 21st century study, research and community facilities. It will encompass a state-of-the-art library, archive, careers and support services, as well as event and exhibition spaces for students, staff, visitors and the local community to access opportunities and resources that support individuals to succeed.

Empowering individuals to drive social and cultural change

With its founding institutions, Royal Holloway College and Bedford College being two of the first Colleges in the UK give women access to higher education, Royal Holloway wanted its landmark new Library and Student Services Centre to celebrate an eminent alumna. Emily Wilding Davison, who began her studies at Royal Holloway in 1892, encapsulates Royal Holloway’s ethos of empowering individuals to drive social and cultural change, for the benefit of all.

“Emily’s campaigning spirit, her commitment to equality, and her determination to bring about positive change can be seen in Royal Holloway’s values today,” said Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, “I am proud to put Emily’s name to our new Library and Student Services Centre, knowing that she was one of the first women to be able to pursue a university education here at Royal Holloway, long before many other institutions opened their doors to women.”

In good company; a history of social reformers

Nearly 1,000 students, staff and alumni helped to choose the name by supporting and sharing their favourite from a list of four prominent alumna. Aside from Emily, author George Eliot, pioneer Hilda Martindale and abolitionist Sarah Parker Remond were all put forward as potential names, being social reformers and former Royal Holloway students.

Natasha Barrett, President of Royal Holloway Students’ Union shared her support for the naming, “It’s fantastic that we can name this building after Emily as she embodies a principle that our founders also stood for - equality. Their egalitarian spirit lives on in our community today where we believe in supporting every individual to ensure that they can succeed no matter gender or background.”

“We are a community that helps students to become independently minded, socially responsible leaders. The Emily Wilding Davison Building will provide space, resource and inspiration for our students, and the community beyond.”

The opening of the Emily Wilding Davison Building will be marked by a community celebration, details of which will be shared later this spring. 

Take the quiz: Which Emily Wilding Davison are you? 


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