Cambridge college unveils blue plaque for 'pioneering' women founders

The plaque was unveiled as part of a weekend celebrating the 150th anniversary of Girton College Image copyright David Johnson Photographic
Image caption James Littlewood, chief executive of Cambridge Past Present and Future, Baroness Hale and Prof Susan J Smith.

Two "pioneering" women who founded the first all female higher education institution in the UK have been honoured with a Blue Plaque.

Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon opened Girton College in 1869, believing higher education should be open to women and men on equal terms.

A plaque was unveiled on Sunday as part of the Cambridge University college's 150th anniversary celebrations.

South Cambridgeshire District Council and a local charity funded the plaque.

Image copyright Girton College, Cambridge
Image caption The principal founders of Girton College have been honoured with a blue plaque.

The Mistress of Girton College, Prof Susan J Smith, said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honour our founders by displaying a Blue Plaque on our iconic tower in their memory.

"People sometimes forget how brave, determined and game‐changing they were, and I hope that catching sight of the plaque will remind visitors of that bold pioneering spirit that still drives this college on."

Girton was originally based at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, before being moved to Cambridge in 1873 and was the first residential college offering higher education for women in the UK.

The plaque was unveiled by President of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale, in honour of the two principal founders.

It was the first to be put on display under a new scheme by South Cambridgeshire District Council and local charity Cambridge Past Present and Future.

It has been open to men, as well as women, since 1976 and now has nearly 800 students.

Visitors will be able to see it on the main tower at the entrance to the college off Huntingdon Road, Cambridge.

The Blue Plaque committee is now open to other nominations for people and events.

A similar scheme has been running in Cambridge city since 2001.

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