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St Hilda's College, Oxford

Colleges and halls of the University of Oxford

St Hilda's College

South Building
College name St Hilda's College
Motto non frustra vixi (I lived not in vain)
Named after Hilda of Whitby
Established 1893
Sister college Peterhouse, Cambridge
Principal Sir Gordon Duff
Undergraduates 400[1] (2011/2012)
Graduates 175[2]
Location Cowley Place

St Hilda's College, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre

Location of St Hilda's College within central Oxford

St Hilda's College Ball
Blazon Azure, on a fess or three estoiles gules in chief two unicorns' heads couped, in base a coiled serpent argent.

St Hilda's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. The college was founded in 1893 as a hall for women, and remained an all-women's college until 2008.[3] The college is named after the Anglo-Saxon Saint, Hilda of Whitby.

The current Principal is Sir Gordon Duff, who took up the post in 2014.

As of 2012, the college had endowment funds of £37 million and total assets of £45 million.[4]


  • History 1
    • Women's rowing 1.1
    • Documentary 1.2
  • Location 2
  • Buildings 3
    • The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building 3.1
  • People associated with the college 4
    • Principals 4.1
    • Former students 4.2
    • Fellows 4.3
    • Honorary fellows 4.4
  • Gallery 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Founded in 1893, St Hilda's College was originally an Oxford Hall for women. It was founded by Dorothea Beale (who was also a headmistress at Cheltenham Ladies' College) as a women's college, a status it retained until 2008. Whilst other Oxford colleges gradually became co-educational, no serious debate at St Hilda's occurred until 1997, according to a former vice-principal, and then the debate solely applied to the issue of staff appointments.[5] After a vote on 7 June 2006 by the Governing Body,[3] men and women can be admitted as fellows and students. This vote was pushed through with a narrow margin[6] and followed previous unsuccessful votes which were protested by students because of the "high-handed" manner in which they were held.[7] The change was met with some dismay from former alumnae and current students.[8] The first male undergraduate and graduate students commenced their studies in October 2008.[9]

Women's rowing

In 1969, the St. Hilda's Eight made Oxford history when they became the first ever female crew to row in the Summer Eights. They placed 12th.[10]


St Hilda's students were the subject of the Channel 4 documentary series College Girls, broadcast in 2002.[11]


Milham Ford Building by the River Cherwell

The college is located at the eastern end of the High Street, Oxford, over Magdalen Bridge, in Cowley Place, making it the only University of Oxford college lying east of the River Cherwell. Its grounds include six major buildings, which contain student accommodation, teaching areas, dining hall, the library and administration blocks: Hall, South, Milham Ford, Wolfson, Garden, and the Christina Barratt Building (opened in 2001). In addition, the Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building is a concert venue named after the famous cellist who was an honorary fellow of the college. The college also owns a number of properties on Iffley Road, and in the Cowley area. It is the most conveniently situated Oxford college for the Iffley Road Sports Complex, a focus for Oxford University Sport.

The college grounds stretch along the banks of the River Cherwell, with many college rooms overlooking the river and playing fields beyond. The college has its own fleet of punts, which students of the college may hire for free in summer months. Unfortunately, this location has at times led to problems with flooding in Milham Ford building.


The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building

The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building

The Jacqueline Du Pré Music Building (JdP) is a part of St Hilda's College. Named after British cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, an honorary fellow of the College, the JdP was the first purpose-built concert hall to be built in Oxford since the Holywell Music Room in 1742. Built in 1995 by van Heyningen and Haward Architects, it houses the Steinway-equipped Edward Boyle Auditorium and a number of music practice rooms. In 2000 the architects designed a new, enlarged foyer space; a lean-to glass structure along the front elevation to the existing music building. In addition to frequent recitals presented by the St Hilda's Music Society, the JdP also hosts concerts by a number of world-renowned performers. Musicians who have performed in the JdP in recent years include Steven Isserlis, the Jerusalem Quartet, the Chilingirian Quartet and the Belcea Quartet. The building has also been used for amateur dramatic performances, since 2008 St Hilda's College Drama Society have been producing several plays a year in the Edward Boyle Auditorium.

People associated with the college


Name Birth Death Principal Between Notes
Esther Elizabeth Burrows 1935 1893-1910 [12]
Christine Mary Elizabeth Burrows 1959 1910-1919 [12]
Winifred Moberly 1 April 1875 6 April 1928 1919-1928 [13]
Julia de Lacy Mann 1928-1955 [14]
Kathleen Major 1955-1965 [14]
Mary Bennett 9 January 1913 1 November 2005 1965-1980
Mary Moore 1980-1990 [14]
Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith 1990-2001 [15]
Judith English 2001-2007 [15]
Sheila Forbes 31 December 1946 2007-2014
Gordon Duff 27 December 1947 2014-present

Former students


Honorary fellows



  1. ^ "Undergraduate numbers by college 2011-12". University of Oxford. 
  2. ^ "St Hilda's College, Graduate prospectus". University of Oxford. 
  3. ^ a b "St Hilda's College to admit men", BBC, 7 June 2006. Retrieved on 9 June 2006.
  4. ^ "St Hilda's College Annual Report and Financial Statements: Year Ended 31 July 2012" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Hilda Brown "Sex and the Hildabeast", Times Higher Education [Supplement], 7 March 2003
  6. ^ "Oxford University to admit men to St Hilda's". Mail Online. 
  7. ^ Peter Foster (4 December 2003). "St Hilda's college votes to remain women-only". 
  8. ^ [2].
  9. ^ "Women at Oxford", University of Oxford website
  10. ^ "1969 - St Hilda's Make Rowing History - St. Hilda's College Boat Club". Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  11. ^ Anthea Milnes "No men please, we're studying" The Guardian, 5 September 2002
  12. ^ a b Margaret Addison; Jean O'Grady (30 November 1999). Diary of a European Tour, 1900. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 189.  
  13. ^ Margaret E. Rayner, ‘Moberly, Winifred Horsbrugh (1875–1928)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 Sept 2015'
  14. ^ a b c Aston, T. H. (7 April 1994). The History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century. Clarendon Press. p. xvi.  
  15. ^ a b "College History - Founder and Principals". St Hilda's College. University of Oxford. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 

External links

  • St Hilda's College (official website)
  • Junior Common Room (undergraduates)
  • Middle Common Room (graduates)
  • St Hilda's College Ball
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