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Royal Holloway - then and now

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When Thomas Holloway decided to establish Royal Holloway College as one of the first higher education institutions in the UK for women, he invested millions in a landmark building, the Grade I listed Founder’s Building, set in 135 acres of open space. In doing so, he sent a powerful message to the world about his ambition for women, the confidence he had in their academic talent and the investment he was prepared to make to support their success.  

The university’s rich and diverse history is reflected in the institution’s archives. Artefacts include the letters of Elizabeth Jesser Reid, the suffragist and founder of Bedford College, which merged in 1986 with Royal Holloway College to become the university we are today, entries in the student register for the prominent suffragettes Emily Wilding Davison and Rose Lamartine Yates, and the diaries of Kate Parry Frye who was active in the Suffrage movement from 1906-1918.

One of Frye’s diary entries offers a unique eye-witness account of Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral. There is also a collection of Bedford College’s and Royal Holloway College’s magazines which include entries from the student suffrage societies, as well as a collection of rare pamphlets and newspapers produced by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Today, Royal Holloway is among the most international universities in the UK. The university values diversity and its community is strengthened by it; its research is within the top 25% of all research in the UK, it is a top 30 UK university and is among the world’s top 200 universities. 

Through world-class research that expands minds and changes lives, the dedication of its teaching staff and the feel of the Royal Holloway experience, this is a community that inspires individuals to succeed academically, socially and personally.

A developing campus

Royal Holloway’s campus is one of the most beautiful in the world, with an impressive combination of historic and modern buildings. In October 2017, Royal Holloway opened the state-of-the-art Emily Wilding Davison Building.  This £57 million construction project was the most ambitious on Royal Holloway’s campus since the completion of the Founder’s Building in 1886, which was opened by Queen Victoria. 

The new building is named after one of the university’s most famous alumna, Emily Wilding Davison, who was a strident advocate for women’s suffrage. Emily’s campaigning spirit, her commitment to equality, and her determination to bring about positive change can be seen in the principles that Royal Holloway’s values today.

Positioned directly opposite the Founder’s Building, the Emily Wilding Davison Building is a modern re-statement of Royal Holloway’s ambition for its students, and its determination to provide them with the resources they need to succeed.In 2018 the university will open its new science building, which will enable Royal Holloway to deliver new courses in a modern way.  The building will be home to Electronic Engineering, which has the stated ambition of supporting women in STEM subjects where they are underrepresented.

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To mark the centenary of votes for women, Royal Holloway, University of London, and the UK Parliament have developed a range of resources and an online course exploring the history of women's rights and suffrage.

 
 
 
 

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