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Secretary's Office of Bedford College

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0505 BC AR300-399
Held at: Royal Holloway, University of London
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Full title: Secretary's Office of Bedford College
Date(s): 1849-1985
Level of description: Subfonds
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Extent: 224 boxes or 2.24 cubic metres
Name of creator(s): Bedford College | Secretary's Office
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Various Professors originally filled the unpaid post of Honorary Secretary to the Council, until Jane Martineau took over the role in 1855. She was followed by Henrietta Le Breton, Frances Kennington, Blanche Shadwell and Lucy Russell, who retired in 1898. The decision was then made to appoint a salaried Lady Secretary who would undertake clerical duties for the College and the Residence. The growth of the College, however, meant an increase in the volume of administrative work, leading to the appointment of an Assistant Secretary and an Honorary Treasurer in 1899. In 1913, with the move to Regent's Park, this ad hoc administrative system was put onto a more modern footing, with the employment of a salaried Bursar and Registrar to share the workload. This led to the creation of structured office procedures.

As the College developed, the role of the Secretary became ever more important, with an increase in scope and responsibility, especially on the financial side. From the outset the Honorary Secretaries had dealt with the general College accounts, and this duty expanded to include the calculation of salaries for the teaching staff, the administration of moneys for gifts and bequests, communication with the University of London, London County Council and other grant making bodies, and the recording and organisation of Council meetings and procedures. The Secretary sat on every Council Standing Committee, initially acting as Secretary for them all.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to ceremonial and special occasions, 1901-1985, including opening ceremonies for college buildings, Centenary celebrations, garden parties, Commemoration Days, Royal visits and events, special dinners, the 1899 Jubilee, and the Final Reunion at Bedford College in Jun 1985. Material concerning public lectures held at Bedford College, 1909-1984, notably the Stevenson and Fawcett lecture series, the Hobhouse Memorial lectures, and Bedford College inaugural lectures. Papers relating to gifts, bequests and prizes donated to Bedford College, 1891-1992, notably legal deeds, correspondence and catalogues concerning the Herringham Collection, 1917-1983; correspondence and papers relating to various memorial funds, 1913-1974; papers concerning Trusts administered by the College, 1900-1934 and 1971-1973, notably the Gilchrist Educational Trust, and the Bedford College Regency Trust; material concerning the award and administration of Arts and Science prizes, 1897-1985. Papers and correspondence with Academic Departments, 1878-1984, including Social Studies, Botany, Zoology, History, Philosophy, Classics, English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Biochemistry, Physiology, Psychology, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Physics and Mathematics, with material relating to College grants to departments, and computing services. Papers on the relationship between Bedford College and various grant-giving bodies, notably the Treasury, 1892-1987, with papers relating to the University Grants Council and the Quinquennium grant; the University of London, 1909-1969; the London County Council and other local authorities, 1894-1983; and papers on research grants for various academic subjects, 1953-1985. Administrative material and correspondence concerning Bedford College Scholarships, 1862-1975, notably Entrance Scholarships, 1892-1975; Research Scholarships and Studentships, 1915-1967; and various named scholarships for specific subjects, 1902-1968. Secretary's correspondence, 1888-1985, with the University of London, 1888-1985, on subjects including University Statutes, the Murray Committee, the recognition of teachers, the medical education of women, academic reorganisation and restructuring, teaching methods and courses, scholarship grants, intercollegiate affairs, and the University of London Union Society; with other University of London Colleges, 1892-1982, such as Westfield College, Royal Holloway College, University College, King's College, the Institute of Historical Research, Birkbeck College, Queen Mary College and the Institute of Archaeology, mainly on intercollegiate co-operation; with Universities outside London, 1929-1951; with other associations and leagues, 1902-1983, such as the Workers Educational Association, the Society of Apothecaries, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and Maidstone Grammar School; with national bodies, 1901-1984, notably the Science and Engineering Research Council, the Customs and Excise Office, St Marylebone Borough Council, the Board of Education, the Crown Estate and Forestry Commission, the National Union of Students, the National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland, the Women's Industrial Council, and the Women's Employment Federation. Secretary's correspondence and papers relating to the government of Bedford College, 1897-1985, including correspondence with the Bedford College Council, and papers relating to amendments to the Charter and Statutes and the composition of the Council and its Committees, 1903-1985; correspondence and papers relating to the establishment and working of various Council Committees, including the Academic Board and its Committees, 1953-1985; correspondence and papers relating to the Governors and Fellows of Bedford College, 1897-1985; correspondence with the Patrons of Bedford College, 1953-1985, and relating to their visits, 1955-1984; papers relating to student discipline, 1965-1977; correspondence with Academic Staff and Departments, 1901-1982; correspondence with the Housekeeper, later the Bursar, 1917-1937. Papers relating to the work of the Secretary's Department, including analyses of work loads and reviews of procedures, 1917, 1929-1930 and 1965-1980. Papers relating to Bedford College in wartime, 1914-1919 and 1938-1951, including minutes and correspondence of the War Activities Committee, 1914-1919; list of donor to the War Activities Fund, 1914-1917; correspondence with the Board of Education and the St Marylebone Tribunal concerning the military service of staff during World War One, 1917-1919; correspondence and papers relating to the evacuation of Bedford College to Cambridge, 1939-1945; correspondence concerning wartime use of the Regent's Park site by the Dutch Government and the BBC, 1939-1944; correspondence concerning College buildings during World War Two, 1938-1951, notably air raid precautions, maintenance, bomb damage and rebuilding; correspondence regarding military service by staff during World War One, 1939-1942; correspondence concerning the return to Regent's Park, 1943-1950, including details of temporary accommodation and reconstruction of bomb-damaged buildings; engineers' plans for air raid shelters, [1939-1945].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers are broadly arranged in files according to subject or correspondent.

Conditions governing access:

Administrative and Committee papers are closed for 30 years from the last date on file. Papers relating to individuals are usually closed for 100 years from the subject's birth. Users are advised to consult the College Archivist for specific details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies of open material may be supplied, subject to the condition of the original. Requests to publish original material should be directed to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

'A catalogue of the Archives of Bedford College (University of London), 1849-1985' by Claire Gobbi Daunton and Elizabeth Bennett, 1987.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The papers were transferred from the Bedford College Archives when the College merged with Royal Holloway in 1985.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Royal Holloway, University of London Archives hold the Secretary's notebook, 1888-1902 (BC GB115); Registrar's papers including material relating to Secretary's Meetings, 1976-1982 (BC AR275/1/1-3); and photographs of various Secretaries (BC PH1), and photographs of College events, such as opening ceremonies, garden parties and conferences (BC PH3).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

A history of Bedford College for Women, 1849-1937 (Oxford University Press, London, 1939), by Dame Margaret Jansen Tuke; Educating women: a pictorial history of Bedford College, University of London, 1849-1985 (Alma Publishers, Surrey, 1991), by Dr Linna Bentley.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in accordance 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:
Apr 2000

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