Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

Lady Margaret Hall is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located at the end of Norham Gardens in north Oxford. As of 2006 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £34m.

Lady Margaret Hall was founded in 1878 as the first women's college in Oxford, and did not accept men until 1979. Lady Margaret Hall accepts both undergraduate and graduate students.


Lady Margaret Hall, the first women's college in Oxford, was founded in 1878 and opened its doors to its first nine students the following year. It was founded by Edward Stuart Talbot, then Warden of Keble College, and his wife Lavinia. The college was named after Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, renowned patron of scholarship and learning. Its first principal was Elizabeth Wordsworth, the great-niece of the poet William Wordsworth and daughter of Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln. In 1979, one hundred years after its foundation, LMH began admitting men as well as women; it was the first of the women's colleges to do so, along with St. Anne's.

The college's coat of arms features devices that recall those associated with its foundation. The portcullis is from the arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort, the bell is a symbol of the Wordsworth family, and the Talbot dogs represent Edward Talbot.

The College

Lady Margaret Hall is one of the few Oxford colleges on the River Cherwell and is known for its lovely gardens set in spacious grounds (about 12 acres (49,000 m2)). The college's original house, now known as Old Old Hall, is still in use. Just behind the main buildings, are a set of playing fields and tennis courts, as well as a manicured Fellows' Garden, hidden from view by tall hedgerows. Giles Gilbert Scott, famous for designing Liverpool Cathedral and the K2 red telephone box designed the college's Byzantine-style chapel.

The architect of the main college buildings was Sir Reginald Blomfield who used the French Renaissance style of the 17th century and chose red brick with white stone facings. The central block, the Talbot Building (1910) contains the Hall and Library, while the accommodation for stuents and tutors is divided between three wings, the Wordsworth Building (1896), the Toynbee Building (1915) and the Lodge Building (1926). The Hall contains some fine oak panelling donated by former students to honour Elizabeth Wordsworth.The portraits in the Hall include the work of notable artists; among the portraits of principals is Sir J. J. Shannon's portrait of Dame Elizabeth, Philip de Laszlo's of Miss Jex-Blake, Sir Rodrigo Moynihan's of Dr Grier and Maud Sumner's of Miss Sutherland. In the Library is a fine marble statue by Edith Bateson. The chapel in the form of a Greek cross was dedicated by the college's founder Edward Stuart Talbot, in January 1933.

Its newest building, Pipe Partridge Building was completed in early 2010. This building includes a 120-seat lecture theatre, a dining hall, seminar rooms, JCR common rooms, and 60 new undergraduate study bedrooms. It was opened by the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes, in April 2010.

In the summer of 2006 a new law library was constructed beneath the extant library; it was opened that year by Cherie Blair.

Members of the college refer to Lady Margaret Hall as LMH. Its colours are blue and yellow (sometimes also with white), and its motto is "Souvent me Souviens", an Old French phrase meaning "I remember often". The bell in the clock above the lodge rings hourly between 08:00 and 22:00.

Notable alumni
  • James Allen, Formula One commentator
  • Diana Athill, publisher's editor
  • Gertrude Bell, writer and diplomat
  • Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan
  • Nicky Blair, son of former Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Elisabeth Blochmann, educationalist
  • Katharine Mary Briggs, writer
  • Caryl Churchill, playwright
  • Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One
  • Donal Coonan, presenter
  • Lindsey Davis, novelist
  • Antonia Fraser, writer
  • Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education.
  • Alethea Hayter, author
  • Stephen Hester, RBS CEO
  • Tim Hetherington, photojournalist
  • Baroness Hogg, journalist
  • Philip Hollobone, politician
  • Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children
  • Matthew Jones, actor and musical comedian
  • Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent
  • Nigella Lawson, journalist and celebrity television cooking show presenter
  • Ann Leslie, journalist
  • Josie Long, comedian
  • Ben Moreau, athlete
  • Elizabeth Longford, writer
  • Eliza Manningham-Buller, former director general of MI5
  • Sujata Manohar, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • Lucasta Miller, writer and critic
  • Barbara Mills, former Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Priscilla Napier, author
  • Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News journalist
  • H. F. M. Prescott, historian
  • Diana Quick, actress
  • Johnny Rogan, author and broadcaster
  • Marie Slocombe, founder of the BBC Sound Archive
  • Matthew Taylor, politician
  • Ann Trindade, historian
  • Anna Walker, British civil servant
  • Baroness Warnock, philosopher
  • C. V. Wedgwood, historian
  • Samuel West, actor
  • Ann Widdecombe, politician

Building Activity

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