WHO WE ARE
QMU is proud to be known as progressive, inclusive and welcoming and this is much more than a slogan.
Professor Anne H. Anderson, Honorary President
Welcome to the Queen Margaret Union or QMU as it is known.
This is an important place with a long history and it is great that you, the new students of 2020, will help take the QMU story forward. QMU is proud to be known as progressive, inclusive and welcoming and this is much more than a slogan. These values are at the heart of what we do and have been from our foundation over 130 years ago.
For its first 400 years, the University was a male-only preserve, but from the 1850s women campaigned for higher educational opportunities. In 1883 the Queen Margaret College was founded – the first and only college in Scotland to provide higher education for women.
The Queen Margaret Union was founded by the students to provide an outlet for their social and cultural needs. For its first 90 years the QMU provided a supportive and empowering women-only environment where women could not only feel relaxed and protected, but where they were also given opportunities to take leading roles in a whole range of activities from running the Union itself to campaigning and even debating, which would have been far less likely in those decades in a mixed environment.
If the last few years have taught us anything it is the importance and power of communities and collective responsibility. QMU has always encouraged that ethos among its members and to wider society even at other very challenging periods in history.
The first photograph of the QMU Board of Management, the students running the union to support its members, dates from the First World War. The history of the Union, ‘Ladies First’ Brown, G. (2010), records the recollections of QMU members who studied and served during the Second World War and who provided a refuge for students from occupied Europe.
It wasn’t all studying and fire duty however, even then. Student diaries from the war years also record the bands and dances held at the union. Music and dancing have been a recurring theme throughout QMU’s history, check out the list posted on the walls of legendary bands that have played at QMU.