Reference code(s): GB 99999 Whitelands College
Held at: Roehampton University
Title: Whitelands College
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: c 600 boxes and c 100 costumes
Name of creator(s): Whitelands College
Whitelands College was founded in 1841 by the National Society for the Promotion of Education of the Poor in the Principle of the Established Church, as a teacher training college for women. The National Society took a lease on a house in the King's Road, Chelsea, known as 'Whitelands House', and the College opened in January 1842 with Julia Field as its first Lady Superintendent. Student numbers grew rapidly in the first two years from 12 to more than 40 and the College soon expanded to other houses in the area. In 1844 the dining room of the College was converted into a practising school where poor children were admitted free. Other schools were to follow for different ages and classes, so that soon Whitelands had four attached schools, including a girls' secondary school. All of these were fitted into the corner of Whitelands at the junction with Walpole Street.
In 1850 the College was given its own Council, thus gaining a measure of independence from the National Society. The new governing body oversaw the expansion of Whitelands House by the erection of new buildings in the grounds. In  the roles of the various officers who had headed the college - the Lecturer, the Chaplain and the Secretary - were amalgamated and the Rev John Faunthorpe was appointed as the first Principal. Faunthorpe improved the training at the College to such a degree that by 1878 Whitelands College was judged to be the best in England by her inspectors. In addition to the basic government syllabus, the curriculum included French, Latin, botany, art, algebra, first aid, kindergarten theory and drill. The College was also renowned for its music and needlework. The number of students continued to grow, necessitating the lease of new houses for accommodation, and the erection of a completely new block housing dormitories and a recreation room. Five years later the space between the original Whitelands House and the Schools was filled with a new wing and in 1899 further buildings were erected above the schools.
One of the most famous friends of Whitelands was John Ruskin, who donated hundreds of books and pictures. His was the original suggestion for the annual May day ceremony which is still held in the present day, and he was also instrumental in persuading Edward Burne-Jones to design windows for the College chapel and William Morris to make them. The Guild of St Ursula, originally the Reading Girl Guild, was founded by the students in 1879 as a means of combining the ideals of serious study and Christian friendship. The Chapel of St Ursula was begun by Faunthorpe in 1881 and soon beautified by the William Morris windows and subscriptions from students.
From 1907, Whitelands began to accept non-conformist students under the terms of the 'Modus Vivendi' agreement drawn up by the government. The last of the Whitelands practising schools was closed in 1917, but was reopened as lady Margaret School, Parson's Green.
In 1931 the College moved to a larger site called Melrose Gardens, in East Putney. The new building had been designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and comprised one large purpose-built structure, which held common rooms, dormitories and classrooms. The sole exception was the chapel, which stood at the main entrance to the College and continued to be maintained by donations from the students (though the Morris windows were moved from the old site and incorporated).
During World War Two, the students were taught from home via correspondence courses, and practised teaching in their local schools under the supervision of Whitelands tutors. The College was finally gathered in one place, the buildings of the College of the Venerable Bede in Durham, in 1941. In Putney, serious bomb damage was done to the College building. The first students returned in October 1941 and normal service was soon resumed.
In 1948 Whitelands was made a constituent college of the University of London Institute of Education. With the introduction of the three-year training course in 1960, and the growth in student numbers, went an increased range of courses including a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 1962 and the BEd degree in 1965 (validated by the University of London). The first male students were enrolled in 1966. Expansion and development of the site continued. Plans to form a union of the four voluntary teacher-training colleges in the south-west of London began to take shape in the early 1970s, with the four acting as an academic unity to offer BA, BSc and B Humanities degrees, validated by the University of London, from 1974. The Roehampton Institute of Higher Education (RIHE) was formally incorporated in 1975, with each of the constituent colleges - Froebel, Whitelands, Southlands and Digby Stuart - retaining its own corporate identity. The title Roehampton Institute London was subsequently adopted.
Though its degrees were validated by the University of Surrey from 1985, full university status was achieved in 2000, when the Roehampton Institute formally entered into federation with the University of Surrey and became known as the University of Surrey, Roehampton.
Scope and content/abstract:
Records of Whitelands College, comprising:
Legal papers, 1930-1978, including land deeds for College grounds at Wandsworth; Charter of Incorporation and papers, 1952-1970; papers concerning memoranda and articles, 1967-1968; Declaration of Trust, Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, 1978.
College government papers, including minutes of the Committee of Council on Education, 1839-1849; Annual reports, 1850-1971; Secretary's reports, 1853-1870; minutes and papers of the College Council, 1849-1974, including the minutes of the National Society Sub-Committee for Whitelands, 1846-1849; papers of the Council of Management, 1930-1998; minutes of the Academic Board, 1952-1976, 1986-1989; minutes and papers of the Academic Council, 1968-1976; minutes of various committees, 1965-1998, including the Academic Records Committee, the Constitution Committee, the Curriculum Committee, the Educational Resources Committee, the Establishments Committee, the External Affairs Committee, the Planning and Buildings Committee, the Postgraduate Committee, the Professional Liaison Committee, the Reports and Research Committee, the Staff/Student Committee, the Whitelands Working Group, the Disciplinary Committee, the Residents Committee, the Catering Committee, the Events Committee; material relating to the formation of the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, 1972-1975; College rules and regulations, 1850-1990s; minutes of the College Board, 1983-1991.
Financial material, comprising cash books and ledgers, [1846-1948]; students' fees, 1944-1965; departmental accounts, 1955-1969; wage books and analysis, 1944-1969; petty cash books, 1942-1970; sundries, 1944-1967.
Staff records, 1935-1960; personal material of the staff, 1863-1973, including photographs, correspondence, press cuttings, speeches and exam papers; staff photographs, 1893-1960s.
Student records, 1842-1998, including registers of students, 1842-1914, application forms and reports, 1913-1969.
Records of student activities, comprising Games Club Committee minutes, 1962-1969; papers of the Fencing Club, 1962-1965; student magazines such as The Arras, 1952-1960, Brescia, 1967-1968, Target, 1969-1970, and the Bulletin, 1967-1992; records of the Student Union, 1951-1979, including constitutions, minute books, press cuttings and handbooks; minutes of the Dramatic Society, 1956-1974; programmes for music and drama productions, 1949-1977.
Papers relating to courses, teaching materials and curriculum, 1891-1976, notably books on individual topics and methods of teaching; reading guides; needlework samples; Education Department booklets, 1960s-1978; papers relating to postgraduate courses, 1964-1971; correspondence and printed material relating to the Job Creation Programme, 1977-1978; material concerning teaching resources, 1963-1969, mainly conferences and exhibitions on visual aids; timetables, 1965-1976; Area Training Organisation Enquiry into Teacher Training, 1970-1971; coursework produced by students, 1843-1948, including needlework, embroidery, and crocheting specimens and notebooks on topics including literature, religion, local history and science; examination question and answer papers, results, and certificates, 1871-1956, including a register of marks, 1894-1907; and examination papers and pass lists for the Gillott Scholarship, 1956-1970.
Papers relating to the training school attached to the College, including the school magazine, 1906-1916; a register of mistresses, 1842-1908; a cash book, 1885-1916, and ledger, 1885-1917.
Publicity material, including prospectuses, -1977 (incomplete); RIHE handbooks, 1976-1978, and prospectuses, 1976-1994; press cuttings, 1856, 1928-1933, 1963-1970.
Papers concerning outside bodies, including the Council of the Church Colleges of Education, 1958-1970; the National Society for Promoting Religious Education, 1970-1976; visitations and inspections from the University of London and the Institute of Education, 1935-1967.
Material relating to College buildings, including papers of the Building Committee, 1854-1863, including a plan of the Whitelands garden and correspondence concerning the Building Fund; copies of plans of the College by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, [1920s]; various publications containing photographs of College buildings at Putney, 1930s; ground plans for buildings at Putney, 1920s-1970s; minutes of the Building Sub-Committee, 1961-1963, 1971; maps and plans relating to rewiring and electrics, 1961-1973;
Papers relating to the Chaplaincy, 1881-1979, notably prayer books, notes and membership lists; Chapel Fund accounts, 1915-1933; material concerning St Osyth's Parish Church, [1928-1930]; Chapel Council minutes, 1931-1961, 1971-1975; service sheets, 1918-1979; papers relating to the College Chapel at Putney, 1927-1931, 1950-1963; photographs.
Records of the Guild of St Ursula (originally the Reading Girl Guild), comprising Guild Annuals, 1880-1975; ledgers, 1892-1967; cash books, 1949-1958, 1966-1974; day books, 1958-1966; Treasurer's file, 1975-1985; papers of AGMs, 1903-1987; membership lists, 1937-1959; reunion records, 1953-1963; papers of the Missionary Branch, 1952-1964; papers of the Benevolent Fund, 1953-1964; service sheets, up to 2000; material relating to Guild regional branches.
Personal material relating to students, 1850-1970, notably memorabilia, correspondence, autograph albums, reminiscences, official booklets, photograph albums, and certificates.
Material relating to the history of the College, 1891-1977, mainly comprising notes and articles by individuals, printed material, as well as photographs and papers relating to the opening of the Putney building, 1931, and Gloucester Court, 1963.
Photographs, 1902-1975, including College buildings at Chelsea and Putney, and the College Chapel; photographs of students, -1970, including of drama productions.
Papers relating to the connection of John Ruskin with the College, 1864-1978, including correspondence between Ruskin and Henry Dyke, 1864-1869, and Ellen Osborn, the first May Queen, 1881-1882; catalogue of the Ruskin Cabinet, 1883; press cuttings relating to the Ruskin Union and his links to Whitelands, .
Material relating to the annual May Day, 1881-2001, established at the suggestion of John Ruskin, including the dresses, outfits, gloves, bags, capes and bouquets which form the outfits worn by the May Queens and Kings; photographs of each Queen or King, their attendants, and the May Day ceremony, 1881-2001; collection of hand-made gold crosses designed and worn by the May monarchs, 1881-2001; biographical information on each monarch, 1881-2001; account books, 1906-1953; papers of the May Day Committee; historical material including narratives and details of May Day and Rose Queen ceremonies around the world.
ACCESS AND USE
Language/scripts of material: English
System of arrangement:
As given in the Scope and Content.
Conditions governing access:
By appointment only. Contact the College Archivist for details. Some confidential material may be closed to the public.
Conditions governing reproduction:
Copies available for research purposes, at the discretion of the Archivist.
There is a detailed catalogue written in 1979. Items after that date are uncatalogued.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:
Immediate source of acquisition:
The archives of the College have always been maintained on one site. Outfits and jewellery of the May monarchs are deposited by each incumbent.
Existence and location of originals:
Existence and location of copies:
Malcom Cole, Whitelands College: the history (Whitelands College, 1982); Malcom Cole, Whitelands College: May Queen Festival (Whitelands College, 1981).
Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.
Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.
Date(s) of descriptions: Feb 2002