Honorary fellow Mary Wedd celebrates her centenary

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 marked the centenary of one of Goldsmiths’ honorary fellows, Mary Wedd. Mary was a lecturer in the Department of English until her retirement in 1981 having previously been Head of Department at St Gabriel’s College of Education, prior to it merging with Goldsmiths in 1975.


Born Mary Carr in November 1916, she later attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, becoming one of a select few women of her generation to do so. Here she was taught by E.M. Forster, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Another literary encounter has become a proud Wedd family anecdote and even appeared on the invitation to Mary’s centenary celebration: she was once snogged by a drunken Dylan Thomas in a pub on Tottenham Court Road!

In 1947 Mary’s first published work, a short story, featured in “The Pleasure Ground – A Miscellany of English Writing”. She contributed stories to a number of literary magazines during the same time.

Alongside its founder, AS Neill, Mary then went on to teach at Summerhill, famous for its philosophies of freedom from adult coercion and community self-governance. She taught at a number of alternative schools before returning to teaching primary in the 1960s and writing the influential book for teachers, “Born for Joy”, in 1969.

After acquiring a Diploma in Child Development from the Institute of Education, Mary went on to lecture at a teacher training college and then on to a long association with Goldsmiths, where she taught English Literature.

She became editor of the highly regarded peer-review journal, “The Charles Lamb Bulletin”, from 1977 to 1988 and remained an active member of various literary associations, regularly giving talks, for many years afterward.

In 2010, Mary became an Honorary Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London – having been recommended for the distinction by University of Cambridge Dame Professor Gillian Beer. Friends and family recall how surprised and gratified Mary was to receive this honour. The honour belongs to Goldsmiths and we wish Mary a very happy centenary year.

Each year at our Graduation Ceremonies, the University honours individuals whose achievements reflect values important to the Goldsmiths community.

Whilst many of these individuals are connected with the University, it’s not a requirement. Previous honorary graduates represent a diverse group including alumni, former staff, internationally-respected academics and public figures. New honorands will be announced prior to the next ceremonies, which take place on 14 and 15 December 2016.

Individuals can be nominated by Goldsmiths staff, students, alumni and members of Council via our online nomination form. To find out more, visit: www.gold.ac.uk/honorary-graduates