Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stephen Gwynn and University College Galway

On this day, 13 February 1864, Stephen Lucius Gwynn, writer, politician and soldier was born as Saint Columba’s College, Rathfarnham, Dublin, eldest son of John Gwynn, warden of St. Columba’s and later professor of divinity at TCD, and Lucy Josephine, daughter of  William Smith O’Brien. Having worked as a teacher and writer for a number of years, he returned to Dublin and in 1906 won the by-election for Galway City for the Home Rule Party under John Redmond against John Shaw-Taylor, holding the seat until 1918.

In this letter to Professor Senier, Mr Gwynn is arranging to meet ahead of a deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in London in relation to University College Galway. Professor Senier was born in Lancashire and studied under A W von Hofmann in Berlin. He became Professor of Chemistry at QCG in 1891 and established a reputation as a prominent academic in his field. He died on 29 June 1918 and is buried in the new cemetery, Bohermore, Galway.  Another member of the deputation was Sir Peter Freyer, a graduate of QCG who had been in the Indian Medical Corp and by 1910 was consulting surgeon at the Queen Alexander Hospital and Millbank in London. He pioneered an operation now known as a prostatectomy.  The letters relating to the deputation are part of one of our small collections (P32), more information on the interaction between the University and the London Government are available in the Papers of Professor Alfred Senier (A21), and the archives service also holds the papers of Sir Peter Freyer (P57), the descriptive list for this collection is online at

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