Ripon College for Women

Principals at Ripon, George Garrod, Eva Lett and Isaac Smith.

In the October of 1842, with things going well for the male college, there was a meeting of the ‘Committee of the Two’ (York and Ripon) at which it was decided to educate women teachers as well.  They were first taught on a site at Monkgate, which is only a few minutes walk from the main building at Lord Mayor’s Walk and by 1846 there were 24 female students.

Thirteen years later, it was decided to build a new Women’s College in Ripon and in September 1862 32 students moved to the new Ripon College.  The building was described as

‘the Italian style of architecture [which] has a centre, three floors in height and two wings. It affords accommodation with separate bedrooms, for sixty students besides apartments for the Lady Superintendent, the governesses and the servants; and includes a large dining room, a  lecture room, a committee room and classrooms.’ (McGregor 1991:53)

By 1914 the college was firmly established and it had the best church college exam in the country.

Until 1974 the Women’s College at Ripon, although closely associated with the York college through the Church, was independent of it, with its own Principal.  Then changes in Higher Education prompted a formal merger to form 'The College of Ripon and York St John'.  Early in the 21st century the story went full circle when St John's consolidated its teaching back into its York sites.


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