Previous Treasures Of The Month

St Hilda's Book Plate

Should you open an early book from our special collections, you will likely find on the inside cover this wonderful bookplate featuring St Hilda of Whitby (614-680) , after whom the College is named. The Annual Report 1925–1926 noted its creation: 

"Mr New has designed a beautiful common seal with a full length figure of St Hilda, a book-plate and a badge for note paper adapted from the seal design, as well as a less elaborate badge for the College blazer." [PUB 001/29]

Artist Edmund Hort New (1871–1931) was a prominent book illustrator and member of The Birmingham Group of Artists which was associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

St Hilda's book plate (1926) by E.H. New

A Snowy South Building in the mid-1920s

This picture shows a calm and frosty winter  view  across the front of South Building in the mid-1920s. In 1919, it got so cold that the water on the surrounding meadows froze over. Student Ethel Collinson wrote in a letter to her mother on the 16th February 1919:

“The frost held for about a week here.  The University Skating Club flooded Long Meadow, and let it freeze, and while it held all the world went skating.  I could not get there until the end of the week.  I spent about an hour one afternoon falling about on Marjorie’s skates.  Then just as I had arranged with Doris Coleman to borrow her skates during the afternoon, as she could not ever use them till after four, of course the thaw came!  She had a gorgeous time that week.  She and her colleagues and their friends, some of them male, used to have moonlight supper parties on the ice!” [PP 13/52]

South Building at St Hilda's in the mid 1920s

'Gambia Studies' by Dr Florence Mahoney

Our alumna Dr Florence Mahoney (nee Asi Peters) was born in Bathurst (Banjul), The Gambia, the daughter of Sierra Leoneon parents. She was educated in The Gambia and then in Derbyshire, England. In 1951, she received her first degree, BA (Hons) in History from Westfield College, University of London, and the Diploma of Education at the Department of Education and St Hilda's College a year later. In 1963, she was awarded a PhD in History from the School Oriental African Studies, University of London.

Dr Mahoney became the first Gambian woman to earn a PhD, and one of the first African women to earn such an advanced degree in History. She has had an extensive teaching career. Dr Mahoney taught History at Gambia High School for a number of years. From 1972-73, she was Fulbright Professor of African History at Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Dr Mahoney's published books include Stories of Senegambia (1982), The Liberated Slaves and the return to Africa (2001), Creole Saga: The Gambia's Liberated African Community in the Nineteenth Century (2007) and 'Gambian Studies' (2008), a collection of essays on some salient aspects of 19th century Gambian history, which we are proud to count as one of the treasures of our library.

Gambia Studies by Dr Florence Mahoney

St Hilda's Hall Eight Going Past the Barges in 1921

This wonderful image was featured in the lifestyle pictorial magazine ‘The Sphere’( 1900-1964). Student Ethel Collinson  [St. Hilda’s 1917] rowed in the VIII, which was coached by William Best. Collinson wrote over a hundred letters during her time in Oxford to her mother,  a number of which mention her passion for rowing.

In a letter dated 26th October 1919  she comments on the photographic session documenting the St. Hilda’s VIII. It is clear that the coach was not impressed:

“On Thursday, a man came to photograph us for the Ladies’ Pictorial or some such rag. Anyway [we all] had to trot down to the Isis at 1.10 to be photographed in the Eight. The joke is that it was a fixed seater, owing to Salters’[ the boatmakers]  mistake, and we should have had  some difficulty in rowing it if we had tried.. You should have seen Best and the photographer!  He wanted to take us across stream at first!  Then when Best stood up in the sten…the young man told him “you can sit down now”!  Best was finally provoked into remarking that he had been on the river 60 years!”   [PP 13/71]


St Hilda's Hall Eight Going Past the Barges in 1921

Sue Lloyd-Roberts's prompt cards for her speech, 'A report from a human rights reporter'.

In 2016, Nick Guthrie kindly donated to the College the papers of his wife, our alumna and prominent journalist and human rights campaigner Sue Lloyd-Roberts MBE [History and Modern Languages, 1970]. These fascinating documents, which are currently being catalogued, range from Sue’s school reports at Cheltenham Ladies College to correspondence with the BBC and ITN, newspaper article cuttings, prompt cards and transcripts for speeches and early family photographs. 

The cards pictured were prepared for a speech entitled ' A report from a human rights reporter' given on 1st April 2003. [PP 14 C/2]

Watch the inaugural Sue Lloyd-Roberts Memorial Lecture, given by Lord Hall of Birkenhead (Director General of the BBC) on 26 April 2017  here.



Sue Lloyd-Roberts's prompt cards for her speech, ' A report from a human rights reporter'