Princess Royal opens £57m Davison Library

By Rosa Smith, News Editor

Students, staff, and members of the local community turned out to welcome HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of University of London, who officially opened the Emily Wilding Davison Building last week.

After bad weather meant her helicopter was unable to land on Founders Field, Princess Anne was welcomed by cheering students in Founders Square, as well as Royal Holloway’s Principal Professor Paul Layzell, Runnymede Mayor and Councillor, Iftikhar Chaudhri, and the High Sheriff of Surrey, Robert Napier.

The Princess Royal, who opened Bedford Library in 1994, then enjoyed a tour of the new building, and later made a speech before unveiling the commemorative plaque and signing the guest book.

Of the new building, Princess Anne stated: ‘This site has its interests and limitations, so to find the space to build a building of this size is extraordinary, but then in a way to have the nerve to create a building that is going to be face with the history behind us, is equally as pioneering and adventuresome.

‘I hope this reflects all that the founders would have expected as a modern university in terms of access and inspiring the next generation of students, and I hope that all of you will find that the facilities here in this very modern environment will do exactly that, that they provide a stronger base for students to both live here and to find out what happens next, and answer some of those problems that come with starting university and the first time away from home, but also to support the learning process in the best possible way, with access to all the information and knowledge that is out there.’

After the speeches, students from Royal Holloway’s Community Action volunteering group 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 Emily Wilding Davison building comprises of the library, student services centre, SU shop, café, and Santander branch, all of which are open to the public as well as students.

The Founder sat down with Professor Paul Layzell to speak about the event and how he felt about the name of the building and Emily Wilding Davison’s legacy. ‘It’s a feeling of pride I think, that its named after somebody who is recognised and associated with this place, and is a symbol of what we believe, that everybody who passes through this place has a role to play in society.

‘Probably most of us don’t know what it is when we come, hopefully some get a sense of what they want to achieve in their lives whilst here, and even if they don’t, I hope we prepare them on the journey that they go on to work that out.’

Featured image: RHUL

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