Homerton College Records - History of the College

Scope and Content

The inaugural discourse delivered at the opening of Homerton College, 1852; Harford House School Magazine 1861-1862; typescript, Homerton College 1694-1960; correspondence regarding the arms of Homerton and the grant of arms by the College of Arms 1912-1954; typescript of 'Homerton and nursing' by Yvonne Wakeling, 1994; two packets of display material relating to the history of Homerton in the nineteenth century in London produced for an archive seminar 1988; typescript history of the college by T H Simms; papers concerning the centenary booklet, Homerton 1894-1994 'One Hundred Years in Cambridge'; 'Homoerotic Friendship and College Principals, 1880-1960' Women's History Review, 1995; copies of 'Homerton College Brief Historical Notes 1695-1945' and 'Homerton College 1695-1978' by T H Simms; documents relating to the history of the College 1943-1968; draft paper by P Searby on J L Brereton and the education of the Victorian middle class; article 'The culture of femininity in women's teacher training colleges 1900-1950' History of Education 22, 1993.

Administrative / Biographical History

Homerton College was founded in 1695. It was one of several academies training ministers for nonconformist churches, at a time when the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge would accept only members of the Church of England. From 1768 several of these academies merged into new premises at Homerton Academy, Middlesex, then a convenient distance from London. The name of Homerton College was used from 1823. The specialised function of the college changed after 1836 when it was possible for nonconformists to sit degree examinations in the newly founded University of London. The London Congregationalists found a new purpose for Homerton College as a centre for teacher training for both men and women. It was Samuel Morely, a Victorian philanthropist who was instrumental in the establishment of Homerton as an independent college for the training of teachers. The surroundings of the College at Homerton, once a prosperous suburb of London, deteriorated towards the end of the nineteenth century. A new location was sought and found in the buildings of Cavendish College, Cambridge. The high Victorian Gothic buildings of the College date from 1876. Between 1896 and 1970 Homerton admitted only women students. Under the dynamic leadership of Mary Allan, its first woman Principal, Homerton gathered its reputation for academic and professional excellence. With the introduction of a three year teacher training course in 1960, Homerton expanded rapidly, with student numbers rising from 300 in 1960, to 540 in 1968. Dame Beryl Paston Brown, a graduate of Newnham College, Cambridge, presided over a major building programme in the early 1960s which included a new library and dining hall. In 1976 Homerton was recognised as an Approved Society by the University of Cambridge. 1976 also saw the establishment of a four year Bachelor of Education honours degree, designed as a professional teacher training course. In the 1970s Homerton began admitting men as well as women to its postgraduate and undergraduate courses. August 2001 saw Homerton changing its legal and institutional status from a free standing Higher Education Institute to one moving foward to full membership of Cambridge University collegiate structure and, in that sense becoming a 'traditional college' within the Cambridge structure.

Access Information

Access by arrangement with the librarian

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued on Heritage IV available in the College Library

Archivist's Note

Description by Catherine Burke, Genesis Project Officer, 8 Feb 2002, amendments from Geoff Mizen, Homerton College. Submitted to the Archives Hub as part of Genesis 2009 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying regulations available upon application


'Homerton 1894-1994, One Hundred Years in Cambridge' Elizabeth Edwards (editor) and Peter Warner, Black Bear Press, Cambridge, 1994.

Geographical Names