Higher Education Postcard: College Hall, University of London

This week’s card from Hugh Jones’s postbag shows one of London’s radical higher education institutions

Hugh Jones is a freelance HE consultant. You’ll find a daily #HigherEducationPostcard if you follow him on Twitter.

Greetings from London!

Across the road from Birkbeck College and the old University of London Union (ULU) building, just down from what used to be Dillons, and by RADA’s theatre and cafe entrance, you’ll find College Hall, depicted in this postcard.

Originally founded in 1882 nearby in 1 Byng Place, College Hall provided rooms for nine women students of University College London and the London School of Medicine for Women (later the Royal Free Hospital Medical School). By 1884 this had risen to seventeen as the Hall expanded into 2 Byng Place – by 1887 3 Byng Place had also become part of the Hall.

The Hall was established through the work of four women: the sisters Annie Leigh Browne and Mary Browne (Lady Lockyer), Mary Stewart Kilgour, and Henrietta Müller. College Hall was a radical institution. Students did not have to provide character references, and they were represented on the governing body.

The Hall’s first Principal was Eleanor Grove, who was assisted by her partner, Rosa Morison – they offered to work for nothing. Rosa Morison became a significant figure in women’s education in London; she was the Lady Superintendent of Women Students at UCL from 1883 until her death in 1912. The commemorative plaque shown was erected in 1914 in University College London.

Eleanor Grove’s poor health caused her retirement in 1890, and she died in 1905. In 2018, a University of London intercollegiate hall of residence – Eleanor Rosa House – was named in their honour.

In 1910 College Hall was taken over by the University of London, and in 1932 moved from Byng Place to its current location on Malet Street.

Leave a Reply