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
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Archivist: Annabel Valentine
College Archives and Special Collections
Royal Holloway, University of London
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