Maria Georgina Shirreff was born in 1815 and in 1841 married William Grey, nephew of Earl Grey (Prime Minster from 1830 to 1834). Maria Grey took up the twin causes of the professional education of teachers, particularly of women teachers, and the establishment of Education as a field of study. Of special personal interest is an autographed copy of Victoria Regia, edited by Adelaide Anne Procter, owned by Maria Grey and dated 1861; a gift from her mother.
She was the creator of the National Union for improving the Education of Women of all classes, known as the Women’s Education Union, a pressure group formed to state a case for women’s rights to professional recognition as teachers. The Union initiated two major schemes: the Girls’ Public Day School Company and the Teachers’ Training & Registration Society. The Teachers’ Training & Registration Society was set up in 1876. The collection contains documents concerning the establishment and administration of the Teachers’ Training & Registration Society and its premises, dating from 1876 to 1928. These papers record the administrative, legal and financial business of the Society. Maria Grey wrote to many prominent people to gather support for the Society and some of the earliest documents include the letters written in response to Maria Grey’s requests for support of a Teachers’ Training Society.
The Teachers’ Training & Registration Society opened its college on the 1st May 1878 in the Clergy House, Skinner Street, Bishopsgate, as a training college for secondary teachers. There is an album of student photographs dating from 1881, and the earliest prospectus is also dated 1881. The college magazines date from 1884. In March 1886 the name of ‘Maria Grey College’ was adopted. In 1946 the College moved to its fourth and final location at Twickenham, on a site formerly occupied by the Royal Naval School for Girls. In 1976 the College merged with Borough Road College and Acton & Chiswick Polytechnic to form the West London Institute of Higher Education.
The collection contains papers on the governance and day-to-day running of the College, including those of the academic board, the academic council and committee papers. Also included are those on staffing and student matters; the arrangement and management of courses; exams; student progress; college buildings; college organisations; professional bodies associated with the college and its staff.