Papers of Lady Freda Roll

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

A small collection containing various records relating to the opening of the University College of Hull, including photographs, press cuttings and information regarding arrangements for students. There is also a copy of Lady Roll's autobiography and a programme for the University College of Hull Dramatic Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

The University College of Hull was founded in 1927 through the support of local benefactors, such as Thomas Robinson Ferens, G F Grant and the City Council. The Duke of York (George VI) laid the foundation stone in 1928 and the College opened in October with 39 students and 14 'one-man' departments.

Located on Cottingham Road in Hull, with just one building (now the Venn Building), the new University College Hull was an outpost of the University of London and offered courses in the arts and pure sciences. During its early years, the College faced the changing economic trends of the 1930s and then the outbreak of war, which led to falling student numbers, buildings being commandeered and books being evacuated for safe-keeping.

The first Principal, Arthur Morgan, was succeeded in 1935 by John Nicholson, who led the campaign to achieve the College's independence, which was achieved on 13 May 1954. A Royal Charter was granted and the University of Hull became a separate institution with the right to award its own degrees - it was Yorkshire's third university and England's 14th.

Freda Roll, nee Taylor, was born in 1909. She moved with her family to Hull in late 1924 and became one of the first students of the University College of Hull. She became the first woman elected as President of the Students' Union in 1930 and married Eric Roll in 1934. Owing to her husband's career, first as an academic and later as a diplomat, the Rolls lived in various countries including Britain, America and France. During their first stay in Washington D.C., she took a job in the British Embassy. Freda also wrote two books on the Tudors, entitled The Pomegranate and the Rose and Mary I: The History of an Unhappy Tudor Queen. She died in 1998.

Eric Roll was born in 1907 in Nowosielitza, Austria. He took a post at the new University College of Hull in 1930 and was Professor of Economics between 1935 and 1939. Within his first few weeks at Hull he met Freda Taylor, President of the Students' Union, and they married in 1934. Roll's most famous work was A History of Economic Thought (1938). He later became a public servant working with the British Food Mission in Washington and was the British representative in the Paris discussions on Marshall Aid. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a civil servant, negotiator and banker and was made a life peer as Baron Roll of Ipsden. He died in 2005.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by Lord Eric Roll, via the Vice-Chancellor, April 1998

Related Material

Papers of Eric Roll [U DX292]

Laying the foundation stone for University College, Hull by the Duke and Duchess of York [U DX174]

'The History of the University and University College' [U DX172]

Papers of Arthur Eustace Morgan, first Principal of University College Hull [U DAE]

Papers of Thomas Ferens [U DX171]

Material Relating to Thomas R. Ferens [U DX96]

Hull University College sign [U DX181]

Printed Souvenir brochure of the Ceremony featuring a number of photographs and text from speeches given [C DBHG/89]

'Why a University College at Hull' leaflet outlining the financial needs of the college [C DBHG/94]