We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > College archives > Exhibitions > Social life > Discos and Balls
More in this section Social life

Discos and Balls

Bedford and Royal Holloway were both women’s colleges up until 1945 when the first male postgraduates arrived so College balls offered the rare opportunity to socialise with the opposite sex as men would visit from local colleges and Sandhurst.

The students seem to have had a mixed reaction to this!

“College dances were an ordeal; rows of unknown men appeared from Coopers Hill, from Sandhurst, from a Civil Service College.”

RHC RF/132/7 Elizabeth Valentine, Maths student 1945-1948


 PP25/22/101 1948 Ball in the Picture Gallery

“Male company consisted of some postgraduates but chiefly Sandhurst cadets. We sat under the pictures (especially the Marriage Market!) in the Picture Gallery and the cadets arrived by the coach load with white gloves – they were divine! Two of our family married Sandhurst cadets.”

RHC RF/131/11 Joy Manning, Maths student 1948-1951

After the arrival of male undergraduates in 1965, mixed sex discos and balls became popular and were more informal than the College dances before this date.




BC PH/6/4/5 Three photographs from a Geology disco in 1968


The Summer Ball still remains a key date in the College’s social calendar and marks the final celebration for each year’s graduates.


Uncatalogued GUMPH! magazine 1977


RHC A153 Summer Ball ticket 1977

Continue to Student Union...


Archivist: Annabel Valentine 

College Archives and Special Collections
Founder's Library
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX


Tel: +44 (0)1784 443814 (internal x3814)
Email: archives@royalholloway.ac.uk


Opening hours:


9.30-1 and 2-4.30

Visits to see original documents are by prior appointment only.


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback