On the first of May each year from the 1880s onward the young women at Whitelands teacher training college in London celebrated by throwing to the wind the timetable that normally dictated how their every moment would be spent. Instead, they adorned the college in flowers, donned in white dresses, and spent the day dancing, singing, and reading poetry. The tradition of May Day helped to poke a hole in the rather dour institutional regimen of Whitelands, which opened the way for many smaller, everyday acts that gradually reworked the ethos of the college.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2014 History of Education Society. This article first appeared on the History of Education Society Blog (2014).

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.