Graphical version

North London Collegiate School

BRYANT, Sophia (Sophie) (1850-1922)


Reference code(s): GB 2457 BRYANT

Held at: North London Collegiate School

Title: BRYANT, Sophia (Sophie) (1850-1922)

Date(s): [1871]-1959

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 6 volumes, 3 boxes

Name of creator(s): BRYANT | Sophia (Sophie) | nee Willock | 1850-1922


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sophia Willock was born on 15 Feb 1850, at Sandymount near Dublin, the daughter of Rev W A Willock, Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. She was educated by her father and private governesses. In 1863, the family moved to London where her father took up the post of Professor of Geometry at London University, and in 1866 Sophia became a student at Bedford College.

In 1869 she married Dr W Hicks Bryant of Plymouth. When he died in 1870, she obtained a teaching post at a school for ladies in Highgate, before joining the staff of North London Collegiate School (NLCS), Camden in 1875. In 1895 she was appointed the second Headmistress, succeeding the School's founder Frances Mary Buss.

Bryant was a brilliant scholar and teacher. She was one of three women members of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education. She was one of the first two women to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree, and the first to obtain a Doctor of Science, awarded in 1884. In 1898 Bryant was the first woman to be elected by the Convocation of London University to the University Senate. She also served on the Technical Education Board and its successor - the Education Committee of the London County Council, representing the Board on the London Polytechnic Council, and was also a member of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education. She also enthusiastically supported teacher training, and was a member of the Board of Studies of Pedagogy at London University, as well as a campaigner for the University's establishment of a chair of education, and chair of the Training College's Council. She was also involved with Goldsmiths' College following its transfer to the University, was honorary director of the Henrietta Barnett School, Hampstead Garden Suburb, and President of the Association of Head Mistresses.

She retired from NLCS in 1918, after 43 years of service. She died in 1922, aged 72 as the result of an accidental fall during a mountaineering holiday near Chamonix, Switzerland.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sophia (Sophie) Bryant comprising:

Willock family album containing photographs and news cuttings, [1871-1999]; volume of photographs and news cuttings relating to Bryant, 1875-1895; Bryant's holiday diary, recording a visit to Switzerland, (undated); published volume of Suggestions from the readings in Madame Guion on St John, London, (owned by Bryant, 1904); presentation address to Mrs Bryant, 1911 on the occasion of the presentation of her portrait by Mr Ralph Peacock, to the Francis Mary Buss Foundation [1918]; copy of Liberty order and law under native Irish rule, a study in the book of the ancient laws of Ireland, by Sophia Bryant DSc LittD, Harding and More, London 1923; painting of the Willock coat of arms;

printed papers, letters, photographs, cards, addresses, press cuttings, student testimonials, including printed copies of her articles, [1878-1923]; personal letters 1895-1916; also letters relating to the school, 1895-1908; letters and papers relating to her death and files concerning her grave and monument 1929-1959; files relating to the Bryant wing at NLCS, 1907-1909; and related papers.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

By appointment. Available to bona fide researchers only. Contact the Mrs Karen Morgan, Archivist, North London Collegiate School, Canons, Edgware HA8 7RJ, Tel: 020 8952 0912. Email
Access restrictions apply to material containing sensitive personal and institutional data.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies available subject to the physical condition of the materials. Researchers may be asked to contribute to the costs.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Archive database may be consulted in the School Library



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:



Related material:

Archives of North London Collegiate School, 1850-2003, held at North London Collegiate School

Publication note:


Archivist's note: Sources: Historical Manuscripts Commission's On-Line National Register of Archives; And their works do follow them, the story of North London Collegiate School 1850-2000, Nigel Watson, James and James, London 2000; The North London Collegiate School 1850-1950, A hundred years of girls' education, Essays in honour of the centenary of the Frances Mary Buss Foundation, Oxford University Press, London 1950.
Compiled by Alison Field as part of the London Signpost Survey 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: September 2003

Educational innovations | Educational development
Girls education | Womens education | Educational systems

Personal names
Bryant | Sophia | 1850-1922 | educationalist

Corporate names
North London Collegiate School | Camden | 1850-1939

Camden | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe