Somerville College

The Iron Lady and The Platform Lift Company at Oxfords Somerville College

Somerville College takes pride in the warm relationship it has enjoyed with Margaret Thatcher & The Platform Lift Company, Margaret studied here and was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1970.

Raised in modest circumstances above her father’s shop in Grantham, Margaret Hilda Roberts arrived at Somerville in 1943 to study Chemistry. Her tutor was another extraordinary woman, Dorothy Hodgkin, who remains the only British woman to have won a Nobel Prize for science. Margaret’s academic work was strong, and she won several grants and prizes. It was during her time at Somerville that she also became the first woman President of the Oxford University Conservative Organisation.
After four years as a research chemist, Margaret Thatcher went on to a career in law. She became the MP for Finchley in 1959 and, in 1979 Britain’s first – and so far, only – female Prime Minister.

The Platform Lift Company was contacted through the estates department at Somerville in regards to installing a platform lift into the student’s accommodation from the entrance to the bar/social area; this was a tricky installation as the access was a tad tight within the accommodation entrance stair area. The Platform Lift needed to be a glass structure to allow as much light into the area as possible with a fire rated door at the upper level…..but, had to be in keeping with the Bar/social area design. The Platform Lift Companies British style lift with its small footprint size 1330mm x 1530mm but maintaining building controls Part “M” 1100mm x 1400mm requirements…..the Platform lift fitted like a glove and looks the part just as Maggie did when she was in power.