The institution now named Queen Margaret University was established as the Edinburgh School of Cookery in 1875.
This institution emerged in a period that was notable for real economic progress, but also characterised by many social and economic divisions and inequalities, and widespread poverty. The School was established as a voluntary effort to address two key problems facing society at the time:
(1) To provide educational opportunities for women. The institution’s founders were part of the U.K.-wide mid Victorian "Women's Movement", which was a campaign for better education and improved career opportunities for females. A main element of this campaign was directed at securing equality of opportunity for school girls, but another purpose was to open up post-school education at both university and technical levels. To this point young women had been excluded from higher and technical education, with an inevitable consequence being widespread female poverty. (One of the key leaders of the women's movement was Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, and she became the School's leading patron.)
(2) The need to bring about an improvement in diets, particularly the diets of working class families.
The original lectures took place (before huge audiences) in the Royal Museum in Edinburgh’s Chambers Street, but it was at first peripatetic in nature, in that teaching staff went out with mobile gas and paraffin cooking equipment to give programmes of public lectures and demonstrations all over Britain, from the Shetlands to the Channel Islands. The first generation of lecturers were almost all young women aged in their early twenties and almost everywhere they went they drew large gatherings of women eager for instruction.
The first permanent site was in Shandwick Place, where the institution was based from 1877 to 1891. At this time the institution also operated a branch in Manchester to provide lectures to industrial communities throughout the north of England. As was intended by the founders, this branch eventually became independent and it is now a constituent part of Manchester Metropolitan University.
Today, QMU’s vision is to be a university of ideas and influence.
Their focus on relevance - through their teaching, learning, and research and knowledge exchange work - ensures that they are responsive to the changing needs of society. They have flagship areas of expertise in health & rehabilitation; sustainable business and creativity & culture.
They aim to provide a transformative learning experience for their students, enabling them to achieve their individual goals and contribute to society. They seek to provide the optimal balance of theoretical and practical education.
They are dedicated to improving the quality of life and building the evidence based for policy and practice through their research and knowledge exchange (KE). They are recognised internationally for their high quality and relevant research, which informs practice and policy, and they measure its value by its impact and social usefulness.
Through their teaching and research, they enable people to people to heal, nurture, care and communicate. They inspire people to build businesses, find solutions to real life issues and to improve communities. They foster creativity and artistic expression, building social capital. Their graduates and staff can found in influential roles across the world, influencing policy and enhancing society, culture and the economy.
In short, they make a real difference in the world.
About the University
At Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, our vision is to be a university of ideas and influence. Outward looking, we are responsive to the changing needs of society and make a real difference in the world. They have widely recognised expertise in health & rehabilitation; sustainable business and creativity & culture.
Their research and knowledge exchange work is focused on making a real practical impact on everyday life.
In this section of their website, you can find out about the history of the university, along with information about governance, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the senior management team and their collaborative partners.
They will also find practical information including travel and transport information and policy and strategy documents.
They can read about their innovative campus and their commitment to sustainability.
If you are considering studying at Queen Margaret University, you should look at the Study Here section of this site.
Their History in Short
They have a proud history of achievement and progress extending for well over a century.
Founded in 1875, they have always been driven by the highest ideals and purposes, focusing on contributing in practical ways to improving people’s lives and serving the community.