Papers of J Margaret Evans

Scope and Content

This collection comprises material that encompasses the life of JME, although the bulk of the papers focus on her education and early personal life, and in particular on the correspondence between she and her husband. Aside from correspondence, the material includes photographs and administrative papers re Lucy Cavendish College.

Administrative / Biographical History

The younger daughter of a Yorkshire pharmacist, Fred and Elizabeth Hadfield, J (as she chose to be called) was born at Cowlersley in Huddersfield on 19 September 1916. She was educated at Royds Hall School, Huddersfield (1927-1935), where she was Head Girl in 1935. She gained an Open Scholarship to Newnham, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences and took her BA in 1938 with a first class in Part II Botany, and also played hockey, netball and cricket for the University. After graduating J moved back to Yorkshire and was appointed Head of the Biology Department at Wheelwright Grammar School, Dewsbury (1938-1942).

In 1940 J married Dr. George Clifford Evans (1913-2006), Lecturer in Botany and Fellow of St. John's College, and in 1942 she returned to Cambridge to work as a Demonstrator at Cambridge University Botany School, remaining there until 1954. During this time she also supervised and examined for Newnham, Girton, and New Hall, and was a Higher School Certificate examiner at the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

JME became a member of the Dining Group in 1952 and held the office of Secretary in 1953, and Steward from 1956 until 1958. She was a Founding Fellow of the College and became the first Junior Bursar, overseeing the renovation and move into first 20 Silver Street, the College's first residence in 1965, and then 16-18 Northampton Street in 1966. In 1970 she suffered a severe stroke and resigned from the Junior Bursarship. However, she continued to take a keen interest in the progess of the College, and retained her Fellowship until 1985 when she was elected an Emeritus Fellow.

From 1957 to 1970 JME served on the Council of Hughes Hall, which was then involved in preparing women graduates for careers in teaching, and was its Treasurer from 1957 until 1959.

She worked as a research assistant to her husband on plant growth and on the natural radiation climate, and she collaborated with her husband on work for The Quantitative Analysis of Plant Growth (1972). Although no longer active in the field and laboratory following her stroke, JME was in demand for opinions on manuscripts and in 1977-1979, she read and discussed with Oliver Rackham various stages of the manuscript of his standard published work Ancient Woodland: its history, vegetation and uses in England (1980).

She died 26 December 2001 in Cambridge.


The papers have been arranged under the headings of Personal; Photographs; and Lucy Cavendish College.

Access Information

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Lucy Cavendish College Archive. A prior appointment and proof of identity is required.

Acquisition Information

The collection was gifted to the Archive by the son of J and Clifford Evans, Peter Evans in 2006-2007.

Other Finding Aids

This collection has been listed to file level and a paper copy of the catalogue is available in the Archive Reading Room.

A full catalogue description is available on JANUS

Archivist's Note

Collection description by Karen Davies, College Archivist. March 2012

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Related Material

Futher papers of George Clifford Evans are held at St. John's College Library, Cambridge, and Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge.

Corporate Names