13 October 1917

St. Hilda’s Hall



Dear Mother

Miss Hallam1 and I went down by the 11.40 train after all, and had lunch in Oxford.  We only just caught the train, and it was packed, but we were able to get seats.  I saw Windsor as we came down for the first time.  It had always been too misty when I went down before, but today was quite clear between the showers.

I was able to unpack everything except my china and get it all stowed away before dinner, which was convenient.  My room is right up at the top of the place, in the roof.  There are three of us up there, one a girl whom I met here in April.  It ought to be very cosy.  It is so far away from anywhere that I  believe I could practise without causing anyone any inconvenience.

My room is very small, and will want a lot of things to make it comfortable – a table-cloth – quite a small square one – a drawers cloth and curtains, among other things – I shall accumulate these by degrees, and shall see Gwen before I make any move in the matter.  I also need something in the ornamental way for the mantlepiece – I wish my little china clock still went – that would do beautifully.  What about suggesting that to Auntie Lizzie2?

I have to write this letter by degrees, whenever I can snatch a few moments in the common room.  Tomorrow I shall buy a bottle of ink.  I found a letter from Miss Roseveare3 for me on my arrival, and this morning I received an awfully nice one from Miss Macrae4, as well as yours for which thank you very much.

I had a very nice time at Miss Hallam’s cocoa last night.  There were three third years there, besides three freshers.  I liked the third years immensely.  One was very like Mrs Lionel Selfe, but without the sallow complexion, and with rather larger features.  She is most awfully good looking – quite eclipses Miss Hallam – and very lively.  You remember the Miss Sadler who resigned her exhibition owing to private affairs?  These same private affairs were matrimonial – she got married!  Silly ass!  By the way Miss Hallam is engaged – apparently to the son of those people she stays with at Beddington.  So that accounts for that!  I thought all the men she had met must have been unaccountably blind!

I think I shall want my eider down if it gets any colder.  I was very comfortable last night, but had my coat over my feet, so if it comes in very cold I shall want something else.

I interviewed Miss Levett5 yesterday.  I am not to coach with her for Foreign History, but am to coach with a Mr Stampa6, and attend a series of lectures by C. Grant Robertson7.  I know he writes very interesting books.  I hope he lectures well.  I am to begin Political Science straight away, as I am fully qualified, and attend  J. A. R. Marriot’s8 lectures on “Mill and his Critics”.  I am also to begin some English History final work with Miss Levett, as I have no qualifications to get up, and the Final work is rather heavy.  I am to go to an L.M.H. 9 tutor for Latin unseens.

I am off to Mansfield Chapel 10 at 11.10, so must go and get ready.   Much love to Daddie and Max 11,

Your loving daughter,


1Miss Hallam – a fellow student.

2Auntie Lizzie- A Collinson aunt.

3Miss Roseveare is presumably another Streatham Hill teacher

4Miss Macrae – Margot’s recent history teacher at Streatham Hill H.S.

5Miss Levett, History Tutor and Vice-Principal, St Hilda’s, Miss Thomson’s friend and contemporary at St Hilda’s.

6Mr Stampa – a history tutor but far inferior to Grant Robertson in Margot‘s view.

7C Grant Robertson aka Grant Bobs: Sir Charles Grant Robertson CVO, 1869 – 1948, a Fellow of All Soul’s College, Oxford who later became Vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

8J. A. R. Marriot, fellow of Worcester College and Conservative MP for Oxford City, 1917-22.  He wrote on constitutional and imperial subjects, on modern diplomacy in relation to the ’Eastern Question’ and on European history from Waterloo to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.

9 L.M.H. is the women’s college, Lady Margaret Hall, founded in 1879, the same year as Somerville.  St Hugh’s was established in 1886.  From 1888 there was a register of Home Students which  gained a Principal in Mrs AH Johnson, Secretary of the Association for the Education of Women, and later became St Anne‘s College.

10Mansfield Chapel is the chapel of the theological college for the Congregational Church, founded in 1885.  Margot’s mother’s Kentish family was Church of England but  Margot was a member of the Streatham Congregational Church, South London.  The Collinsons, coming from the Preston area, may well have been Non-conformists.

11 Max is Margot’s much younger brother, William Maxted Collinson, who discovered that his first name could be abbreviated to the comfortably ordinary ‘Bill’, though his mother always called him ‘Max’.  He was born in 1905 when Margot was nine.

Next post:19 October 1917,to be posted 19October 2014


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