This article focuses on women at Owens College, Manchester between 1883 and 1900. It does so through the lens of the everyday places, spaces and material features that symbolically defined an everyday experience on the periphery of college life. Having achieved admission to Owens in 1883, the first women to enter this newly coeducational space were met by hostility and resistance that expressed itself both in words and the careful guarding of formerly male preserves. This article therefore examines the objects, doorways, rooms and lecture halls that formed the daily environment for women as they crossed the boundary of Manchester’s Oxford Road. It considers how they navigated and appropriated space within the college and how, physically and discursively, they carved out room to belong.