Between 1869 and 1878, more than 250 women sat the General Examination, of whom 139 passed and 53 were awarded Honours. They came from Bedford and other London colleges, as well as schools such as Cheltenham Ladies’ College. A further 40 successful candidates prepared with ‘private tuition’. During the 1870s candidates arrived from across Britain, including girls’ schools in York, Liverpool, Bradford and Kendal.
Today their successors come to London from countries worldwide, or continue to study remotely. The University of London’s international programme has more than 50,000 students worldwide on its distance learning programmes.
Their achievements will feature prominently in this year’s ‘Leading Women’ campaign. In the coming months talks, open-days, workshops and exhibitions will champion today’s students and encourage others to follow them in the 2020s. But the campaign will also reflect.
The Leading Women website features a gallery of 150 notable alumnae and staff active from the 1860s to the present day. They include Elisabeth Jesser Reid and Louise Creighton, alongside other educational pioneers who drew inspiration from the original London Nine.
Dr Philip Carter, Head of Institute of Historical Research Digital and Senior Lecturer in Digital History
Follow us on Twitter where we will be revealing a selection of the original exam questions each day of this week.