Dymond, Dorothy Evelyn, CBE, D.Litt

Historian and educationalist, she was the daughter of the Rev. John Dymond (1845-1908; e.m.1868). Born into a Romas Catholic family in Co. Galway, he moved in his early years to Yorkshire, where he came under the influence of Methodism and was converted. He trained for the ministry at Richmond and Headingley Colleges, beginning a distinguished circuit ministry in 1869. During twelve years stationed in London circuits he had pastoral care of students at Westminster and Southlands Colleges. In Manchester in his last two years he suffered from much pain and weakness and died on 10 May1908.

His daughter Dorothy Dymond (1891-1985) was born in Portsmouth on 3 July 1891. She attended High Schools in Portsmouth and Manchester and then read History at Somerville College, Oxford, gaining First Class Honours in 1913. Two years of research on Pope Hildebrand at King's College, London won her an MA. In 1919 she was appointed lecturer in medieval history at Goldsmiths' College and in 1927 became a member of the Council of the Historical Association. Two of her most significant publications appeared in 1929: An Introduction to Medieval History and A Handbook for History Teachers. One of her Goldsmiths' students, the crime writer Gladys Mitchell, based the character of Miss Topas in her novel Laurels are Poison on her.

In 1932 she was appointed Principal of Portsmouth Training College and oversaw the building of purpose-built premises opened in 1939 (now part of Portsmouth University). It was the first training college in the country to introduce Sociology into the curriculum. The war years saw the students evacuated to Homerton and Bishop Otter College, Chichester, but expansion followed, reaching 960 in the early 70s. She served on the University Grants Committee 1946-1953 and was President of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education 1957-61. She was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours list in 1949 and an honorary D.Litt by Southampton University in 1976. A Civic Dinner marked her 80th birthday in 1971 and a volume of Hampshire Studies was presented to her on her ninetieth birthday as a Festschrift to mark her sustained contribution to local history studies. She retired in 1956 and died on 5 September 1985. Dorothy Dymond Street close to Guildhall Square in Portsmouth is named in her honour.


Judith Hart (later Baroness Hart) was briefly a colleague at Portsmouth and wrote of Dorothy Dymond that 'in days when disciplinary orthodoxies dominated most training colleges, she had created a happy community of self-disciplined students. She demanded sensible, restrained and work-dedicated attitudes from them and got it without repression... She is a great lady and a lovely person.'

  • John Webb, The City of Portsmouth College of Education 1907-1976 (1976), pp.27-37
  • John Webb, Nigel Yates and Sarah Peacock (eds.), Hampshire Studies (Portsmouth, 1981)
  • Times, 10 September 1985