The Higher Education of Women

{See also Queens and Bedford colleges, London }

{See also Bedford College }

One of the achievements of the Langham Place group was the experimental examination of girls by the examiners of Cambridge University in 1863. This was due to the efforts of Emily Davies to obtain the consent and co-operation of the authorities. Over 90 students took part, and Henry Fawcett MP reported that: 'a proposition was made in Cambridge University to extend the middle-class examination to girls; but it met with considerable opposition on the ground that it would ruin the character of girls, and that it would destroy all their softness, and make them hard. After a severe contest the proposition to try it for three years was carried by a majority of five. Those three years had just expired and the experiment had been perfectly successful. Its most bitter opponents were now so convinced of its success that they had not a word to say against its continuance, and it had been permanently established with the unanimous assent of the University authorities... The girls who had been examined showed themselves quite equal to the boys in Greek, Latin, mathematics, and all intellectual studies, and while it was admitted that they had evinced equal capacity, they were also declared to have done their part more steadily and in a more business manner.' But Cambridge did not open its degree exams to women. Miss Davies asked London University to do so, but it offered special exams for women, which she rejected because she knew they would always be considered inferior to the qualifications gained by men. To her credit, she wanted total equality.

In late 1870, of five Hitchin students who had been examined for the Cambridge 'Little-Go', four attained first class and one second class.

In late 1870, a memorial (petition) was sent to the Privy Council n Education signed by 72 Cambridge professors and lecturers praying that women be appointed school inspectors.

Ladies' College, City Road, London. Miss Berridge.

Working Women's College. Queen Square. Founded by Mr and Mrs Malleson. Sarah Bunting, superintendent (1865). From October 1864 was opened also to men.

Female School of Art 43 Queen's Square, WC. Superintendent (1874) Miss Louisa Gann. Fees for five months, £5. 5s

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All pages © Helena Wojtczak 2009. Corrections and additions are warmly welcomed. Email me