Day School: Girton (1869) and Newnham (1871) -Cambridge's first women's colleges

Ref: C2226328

The struggle for women to enter higher education is a fascinating story, particularly at Cambridge, where some early successes were followed by inertia and active opposition. The founder of the first college for women, Emily Davis, set up her establishment 150 years ago with the highest objectives, followed a few years later by a second with slightly more modest aims. Over time, their combined purpose achieved full membership of the University for women, but not without many struggles. The Victorian image of respectable womanhood had to be challenged, but in a very respectable way that did not frighten contemporary Cambridge society. Explore the vitality and enthusiasm of the pioneering girls who led the way to greater equality in education. Chaperones, hats and gloves were compulsory outside college grounds, and private punting practice in the early mornings ensured no public disasters later in the day. This course runs from 11am – 3.30pm which includes a one hour lunch break.

Additional information about this course

This course runs from 11am-3.30pm inclusive of a one hour lunch break.

Course aim

This Day School will examine the earliest days of women's higher education in Cambridge, through the establishing of two colleges within a divided community. The enthusiasm of the pioneer women (and male supporters) shines through the records.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand a wider perspective on the physical growth of Cambridge in the late nineteenth century
  • Outline the wider circumstances that led to the founding of Girton and Newnham Colleges
  • Assess the sources of information for this topic.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Day School: Girton (1869) and Newnham (1871) -Cambridge's first women's colleges

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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