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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury and the Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury People

What is the Bloomsbury Project?

The Leverhulme-funded UCL Bloomsbury Project was established to investigate 19th-century Bloomsbury’s development from swampy rubbish-dump to centre of intellectual life

Led by Professor Rosemary Ashton, with Dr Deborah Colville as Researcher, the Project has traced the origins, Bloomsbury locations, and reforming significance of hundreds of progressive and innovative institutions

Many of the extensive archival resources relating to these institutions have also been identified and examined by the Project, and Bloomsbury’s developing streets and squares have been mapped and described

This website is a gateway to the information gathered and edited by Project members during the Project’s lifetime, 1 October 2007–30 April 2011, with the co-operation of Bloomsbury’s institutions, societies, and local residents

Elizabeth Malleson (née Whitehead) (1828–1916)

Born Elizabeth Whitehead in Chelsea to a Unitarian family, in 1854 she was appointed by Barbara Leigh Smith, later Madame Bodichon, founder of Girton College, Cambridge, to teach at an experimental non-sectarian, co-educational school in Marylebone

In 1857 she married Frank Malleson, also a Unitarian, a partner in a Holborn wine firm

In 1864, supported by her husband and by those involved with Frederick Denison Maurice’s Working Men’s College, then in Great Ormond Street, she established the Working Women’s College nearby at 29 Queen Square

In 1876 she represented the College at the first meeting of the London Society for the Extension of University Teaching at Mansion House, along with representatives from Bedford College, Girton College, and the Working Men’s College (Elizabeth Malleson 1828-1916: Autobiographical Notes and Letters, with a memoir by Hope Malleson, 1926)

In 1874, after failing to persuade the Working Men’s College to agree to a merger, she turned the Working Women’s College into the co-educational College for Men and Women

This continued in Queen Square until its dissolution in 1901, by which time she had been living in the country for nearly twenty years and had little to do with the college

She caused a split among her teachers and supporters when she pushed through her co-educational venture

A breakaway group, led by a member of Malleson’s teaching staff, Frances Martin, founded the women-only College for Working Women in Fitzroy Street in 1874, which eventually (in 1966) merged with the Working Men’s College

For more general biographical information about Elizabeth Malleson, see her entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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