Somerville College is opening up for Oxford Open Doors in September, celebrating the achievements of alumni who include campaigners, writers and eminent politicians.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s event, Extraordinary People, the college will commemorate its distinguished former students, from Cornelia Sorabji and Eleanor Rathbone to Dorothy Hodgkin and Indira Gandhi.

Exhibits will include Vera Brittain’s contract with publisher Victor Gollancz for her Great War memoir Testament of Youth, an optical instrument used by Mary Somerville, and a copy of Dorothy L. Sayers’ novel Gaudy Night, inscribed by the author to the Principal and Fellows of the College.

Vera Brittain

Pioneering Somerville Law student Cornelia Sorabji featured on the Google Doodle

There will be an exhibition in the front vestibule of the Library, which boasts one of the biggest book collections in Oxford. Our non-denominational Chapel, the Margaret Thatcher Centre and the Terrace Bar will also be open to visitors.

Anne Manuel, the College Librarian, said: “We are delighted to welcome the public to Somerville in September, and look forward to showing off some of our college treasures.”

Somerville College Chapel

Tours of the college will be self-guided, and maps will be available for visitors.

Somerville will host a community fair showcasing Oxford University events through the year that will be open to the public, including lectures, exhibitions, family events, concerts and citizen science projects.

This fair will take place in the Margaret Thatcher Centre and – weather permitting – in a marquee on the quad. Drinks and snacks will be served in the Terrace Bar.

Oxford Open Doors takes place on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 in conjunction with the Oxford Preservation Trust. The college will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm on both days and no advance booking is necessary.

Somerville College Library

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