Posted on 22/11/2013
Campus Plan, 1939
This month’s archive item comes from a Royal Holloway College prospectus for 1939-40. In the back cover of the prospectus (which is just a small booklet – not a volume of over 100 pages as we have now) is this fold out map. It shows a very different campus to the one we have today. The most striking difference is the lack of buildings – Founders is there, as is Horton and the Chemistry laboratory (which is now part of the management building) but very little else. We can see that the College was, at least partly, self sufficient as there are kitchen gardens where McCrea, Bedford Library and Bourne (and many more!) are now. You can also see that the College kept pigs down by the piggery gate (as the name suggests) and off the bottom of this image is pasture land where cows grazed. The botanical garden would have been used by Botany students for their studies and the swimming bath (now Jane Holloway Hall) would have been well used by the students who were encourage to take part in sports in their spare time. The College then was much more rural that it is now and if you look very closely a squirrel and rabbits have been drawn into the woodland areas. It also didn’t extend as far as it does now as there are no College buildings north of the A30.
Some of aspects of the campus do remain the same however, the tennis courts are still in the same place (although no longer used for lawn tennis) and the hockey pitch has always been on the west side of Founders. The engine house is also pictured near the top of the map (now known as the boiler house) which has always been used to heat Founders and more recently as a teaching and performance space. Not marked on the map are the tunnels which run from the boiler house to the west side of Founder’s building which have been the source of many an exaggerated story over the years.
Annabel Gill, College Archivist