In 1837, Miss Burdett-Coutts, heir to the Coutts banking fortune, inherited circa £2,000,000 from her Grandfather, the banker Thomas Coutts. She visited Whitelands College frequently, attending lectures and examining every detail of the domestic arrangements. As a gift to the College, Miss Burdett-Coutts introduced a system of prize-giving for needlework and domestic economy, “Prizes for Common Things”, which was published in late 1854. Her friend and colleague, Charles Dickens, made significant contributions to this book: he edited it, sought advice from education experts and wrote questions for the examination process.
In 1874, the Reverend John Pincher Faunthorpe introduced to the College William Morris, leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, the eminent Pre-Raphaelite artist. Together they designed artefacts for the newly erected College Chapel the most notable being the stained glass windows, designed by Burne-Jones and made in the William Morris factory at Merton Abbey. These windows were paid for by each senior girl giving a £1 from their first salary, this they willingly did such was their love of the College. In 1882, the Seniors raised the £50 for the window of Saint Ursula, in 1883 the Seniors raised the £50 for the window of Saint Agnes and so on until all 12 windows had been paid for.