Wandering Through Founders

I only have courses on Tuesday and Thursday and a few orchestra rehearsals here and there in the evenings. A lot of my time on campus is either spent writing papers, drinking coffee, or practicing flute. Sometimes, though, I’m left with time to wander through the buildings. I had this opportunity recently, so I thought I’d share photos of the Founder’s building with a bit of history courtesy of the Royal Holloway website.


Elizabeth Jesser Reid opened the first women’s college of Great Britain, Bedford New College, in 1849. Here’s a short biography about her because she was just an all around interesting woman http://www.reflex.london/history-of-elizabeth-jesser-reid/. A few decades later, Thomas Holloway, a self-made millionaire, decided he wanted to spend a quarter of a million pounds on something useful for society. Holloway followed Reid’s lead and his wife’s advice and used his money to found Royal Holloway College for women in 1886.


Queen Victoria greatly approved of the idea and officially opened the college, which is why it was allowed the title of “Royal”. In 1900, both Bedford college and Royal Holloway became members of the University of London. They both began allowing male applicants in 1965 and they officially merged in 1985.


The college was also home to the first female professor in Great Britain, Margaret Benson, who was appointed as a professor of botany in 1912. The school’s motto is Esse quam videri, which means “to be rather than to seem (to be).”


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