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Student Societies


BC PH/6/1/1/3 Cricket Practice at Bedford College 1923

Student Societies have always played an important role in College life as a way to socialise and take part in extra-curricular activities. Societies at the opening of the Colleges are similar to the societies we have today (although there are many more now). Hockey, cricket, rowing and other sports are represented as well as drama societies, debating societies and music groups. The societies were all active and many students were members of several different groups.



 BC PH/6/1/5 Tennis pair at Bedford College c.1913


 BC PH/6/2/2/2 Greek Play at Bedford College 1890s

“We made our own entertainment. There was no television, I did not possess a radio, we could afford few cinema tickets… There were plenty of Societies to join e.g. CHARD for Drama, a Debating soc., societies for all the political parties. Above all there was music. Sunday Music was held each Sunday evening in a large, high ceilinged room with high windowsills, used as extra seats… Miss Scowse, so gentle and kind, was the life and soul of every concert.”                      RHC RF/132/7 Elizabeth Valentine, Maths student 1945-1948


RHC PH/202/8 Choir  in the Chapel at Royal Holloway College 1948

One of the more unusual societies was the Unicycle Club who 'drove big wooden hoops around the terraces in cold weather to warm themselves up before a lecture'. One of the principals of Royal Holloway, Miss Higgins, was said to be a fan of this activity.

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Archivist: Annabel Valentine 

College Archives and Special Collections
Founder's Library
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