Princess Royal opens Royal Holloway new-build

HRH The Princess Royal opens the new Emily Wilding Davison Building at Royal Holloway, University of London

The new Emily Wilding Davison Building at Royal Holloway, University of London’s Egham campus has been officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Chancellor, University of London.

The striking building encompasses a state-of-the-art library, student services centre and careers and employability services, as well as event and exhibition spaces, providing space and resources to meet the needs of students today. The design of the building and newly created Founder’s Square have been designed to complement Royal Holloway’s Grade 1 listed Founder’s Building.

At the opening, students from Royal Holloway’s Community Action volunteering scheme were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The achievement recognises their work in helping build strong communities by inspiring students to volunteer and lead projects to support local organisations. 

The library within the new Emily Wilding Davison Building is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 350 days per year and has an extensive collection of over 400,000 books, along with over 500,000 e-books and e-journals. Study spaces range from collaborative areas to individual study pods and group study rooms. There is also dedicated study space for postgraduate research students.

Students will benefit from having a new student services centre at the heart of the campus, while careers & employability services will provide students with tailored support to help them plan for life after university. Support includes opportunities to network with future employers, secure work placements and internships and develop the employment skills that will help them to compete in today’s job market. The building also provides a Student Union Shop, Café and a branch of the Santander Bank which, like the whole building, is open to the public.

Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “The Emily Wilding Davison Building is a modern statement of our ambition for our students, and our determination to provide them with the resources they need to achieve their goals. Our purpose at Royal Holloway is to advance knowledge and, by sharing it, to inspire others to do the same. We want to help every individual in our community to find their purpose and make a positive difference.”

The construction of the new £57 million building was the most ambitious on Royal Holloway’s campus since the completion of the Founder’s Building in 1886 which was opened by Queen Victoria.  Royal Holloway’s campus is one of the most beautiful in the world, with an impressive combination of historic and modern buildings set in 135 acres of stunning parkland. The Emily Wilding Davison Building is striking and sensitive in design and delivers breath-taking views of the Founder’s Building, London’s skyline and Surrey’s picturesque countryside.  

The decision to name the building after one of the university’s most famous alumni, Emily Wilding Davison, was one made by the whole university community. Emily was a strident advocate for women’s suffrage and through the efforts of campaigners like her, the Representation of the People Act 1918 was enacted, securing the vote for some women for the first time, and most men. Emily’s campaigning spirit, her commitment to equality, and her determination to bring about positive change can be seen in Royal Holloway’s values today. 

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