Girton College, Cambridge

Girton College, Cambridge

Cambridge College Infobox
name = Girton College
infobox_colour = #009900
text_colour =
link_colour = #ffcc00


colours =
full_name =
latin_name =
latin_motto =
english_motto = Better is wisdom than weapons of war (Alumni)
founder =
founder_pl =
named_for = Girton Village
established = 1869
old_names = The College for Women (1869-1872)
location = [http://www.cam.ac.uk/map/v3/drawmap.cgi?mp=mad;xx=497;yy=174;mt=c;tl=Girton%20College Huntingdon Road]
women_only =
mature_students =
head_label = Mistress
head = Professor Dame A. Marilyn Strathern
undergraduates = 503
JCR_President =
graduates = 201
MCR_President =
SCR_President =
sister_college = Somerville College, Oxford
sister_college_pl =
homepage = http://www.girton.cam.ac.uk
boat_club = http://www-gcbc.girton.cam.ac.uk/

Girton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The College was established on October 16, 1869 by Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon, as the first residential college for women in England. The college became mixed in 1977 with the arrival of the first male Fellows; male undergraduates have been admitted since 1979.

The main site for Girton is about 2.5 miles northwest of the city centre. There is also an accommodation annexe, Wolfson Court, situated next to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, in the western suburbs and within easy walking distance of the University Library and town centre.

Girtonians are known for their chant of "We are Girton - super Girton! No one likes us, but we don't care!", in imitation of the Millwall fans' famous song: "No One Likes Us - We Don't Care." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A11642960] The reference to "no one likes us" is supposedly due to the relative distance of Girton in comparison to many of the other colleges. Anecdotes about the distance of Girton from other Cambridge colleges are plentiful - for example, by popular legend, more Cambridge students have visited Delhi than Girton College.

In the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "Utopia, Limited", a principal character, Princess Zara, is returning from her studies at Girton, and her entrance is heralded by a song called "Oh, maiden rich in Girton lore." In an earlier G&S opera, "Princess Ida", the princess founds a women's university, and the subject of women's education in the Victorian era is broadly explored and travestied.

History

The College was established on October 16, 1869 by Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon, as the first residential college for women in England.

It was called the College for Women, and was located at Benslow House, Hitchin, a town in Hertfordshire, England. The first group of students were known as The Pioneers. In 1872 the present site, located about two and a half miles northwest of the centre of Cambridge, next to the village of Girton was purchased; the College was then renamed Girton College, and opened at the new location in October of 1873.

In 1921 a Committee was appointed to draft a Charter for the College. By the summer of 1923, under the conduct of the Master of Emmanuel College the Committee completed the task, and on 21 August, 1924 the King granted the Charter to “the Mistress and Governors Harv|Stephen|1933|120-121 of Girton College” as a Body Corporate. Having received a Charter, the college applied for coat-of-arms that was derived from the arms of its founders and benefactors: Mr H.R. Tomkinson, Madame Bodichon (née Leigh Smith), Henriette Maria, Lady Stanley of Alderley (daughter of the 13th Viscount Dillon), – and Miss Emily Davies who did not have arms and hence was represented by the Welsh colours, vert and argent. The Rev. E.E. Dorling submitted a great variety of designs to the Council, however the task was not easy. “A patch-work of elaborate charges and many colours was to be avoided. Mr Tomkinson’s fascinating martlets and Lady Stanley’s lion had to be abandoned with regret, as was also a design of green and silver chequers which would have given more prominence to Miss Davies.” ["The Girton Review", Michaelmas Term 1928, pp 2-4; p. 4.]

Finally in 1928 the design was accepted by all and the College was granted the following:

We ... grant and assign unto The Mistress and Governors of Girton College the Arms following that is to say: Quarterly Vert and Argent a cross flory countercharged a Roundel Ermine and in the second and third quarters a Crescent Gules, ... to be borne and used for ever, hereafter by the Mistress and Governors of Girton College and by their Successors upon Seals Shields or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms. [Extract from the text from the original grant quoted by Harvtxt|Kóczy|1997]

The arms described are simple both in shape and colours, and represent the four major benefactors. It must be noted, however, that at this stage Girton was not a college yet, nor were its members members of the University. Women at Cambridge had to wait until after another war; eventually, on 8th December 1947 the long expected change came, and “Girton & Newnham will no longer be “recognised institutions for the higher education for women” but colleges of the university” [The Times, 8 December 1947.] . As academic dress, gowns were adopted with little changes (the sleeves had to be closed so that even in the summer, when women wear short sleeved dresses their bare shoulders do not show), and the square caps were chosen as head-dress. The proper dress of the gown and cap was observed at the first honorary degree to a woman, given to the Queen, an LL.D. on 21 October 1948.

Over the years, many additions have considerably expanded the size of the college, most recently the award-winning library extension [ [http://www.architecture.com/Awards/RIBAAwards/Winners2006/East/GirtonCollegeLibraryCambridge.aspx RIBA Awards 2006 (East Region)] ] . Numerically and geographically, Girton is now one of the largest Colleges in Cambridge. However, the geographical separation means that the majority of people socialise within the College to a greater extent than at most other Colleges, which is said to create a distinctive, even cosy, atmosphere that is well renowned throughout the University. Girton also proudly houses an Egyptian mummy named "Hermione", and is the only Cambridge college to have its own indoor heated swimming pool.

On April 27, 1948, women were admitted to full membership of the University of Cambridge, and Girton College received the status of a College of the University. However, to remember the time when women were not allowed to obtain degrees of the University of Cambridge, no gowns are worn during the college feast, when students in their final year are celebrated.

The college became mixed in 1977 with the arrival of the first male Fellows; male undergraduates have been admitted since 1979.

Notable alumni

For details of graduates in mathematics up to 1940 see
* [http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Davis/Indexes/Cambridge.html List of graduates of the University of Cambridge] on [http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Davis/info.html Mathematical Women in the British Isles, 1878-1940]

Institutions named after Girton College

*Girton Grammar School, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
*Girton Hall, University of California, Berkeley

ee also

*
*

Notes

Further reading

* "Girton: Thirty Years in the Life of a Cambridge College". Third Millennium Publishing, 2006.
* cite journal
last = Kóczy
first = László Á.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Girton College and its Arms
journal = The Escutcheon
volume = 2
issue = 3
pages =
publisher = Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society
location = Cambridge
year = 1997
url = http://www.societies.cam.ac.uk/cuhags/escutch/1996-97/ar_girtn.htm
doi =
id =
accessdate =

* cite book
last = Stephen
first = Barbara
authorlink = Barbara, Lady Stephen
title = Girton College 1869-1932
publisher = Cambridge University Press
year = 1933
location = Cambridge
pages = 167
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =


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