World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

King's College, London

Article Id: WHEBN0000158562
Reproduction Date:

Title: King's College, London  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: New Malden, Roger Penrose, Thomas Hardy, Francis Galton, Michael Nyman, Leidenfrost effect, Rory Bremner, Derek Jarman, Cumberland, Mandell Creighton
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

King's College, London

King's College London
Arms of King's College London
Motto Sancte et Sapienter
Motto in English With Holiness and Wisdom
Established 1829
Type Public
Endowment £130.76 million[1]
Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal (University of London)
Principal Sir Rick Trainor
Visitor The Archbishop of Canterbury ex officio
Admin. staff 6,113 (2012)[2]
Students 25,187 (2012–13)[3]
Undergraduates 14,997[3]
Postgraduates 10,190[3]

London, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°30′43.00″N 0°06′58.00″W / 51.5119444°N 0.1161111°W / 51.5119444; -0.1161111

Campus Urban
Chairman of the Council The Marquess of Douro
Mascot Reggie the Lion
Affiliations ACU
Golden triangle
King's Health Partners
Russell Group
Universities UK
University of London

King's College London (informally King's or KCL) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's is arguably the third-oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, receiving its royal charter in the same year.[4][5] In 1836 King's became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London.[6][7][8]

King's is organised into nine academic schools, spread across four Thames-side campuses in central London and another in Denmark Hill in south London.[9] It is one of the largest centres for graduate and post-graduate medical teaching and biomedical research in Europe; it is home to six Medical Research Council centres, the most of any British university,[10] and is a founding member of the King's Health Partners academic health sciences centre. King's has around 25,000 students and 6,113 staff and had a total income of £554.2 million in 2011/12, of which £154.7 million was from research grants and contracts.[1]

King's is ranked 19th in the world (and 8th in Europe) in the 2013 QS World University Rankings,[11] 38th in the world (and 9th in Europe) in the 2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings[12] and 67th in the world (and 18th in Europe) in the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities.[13] There are currently 12 Nobel Prize laureates amongst King's alumni and current and former faculty.[14][15] In September 2010, The Sunday Times selected King's as its "University of the Year".[16] King's is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, the Russell Group and Universities UK. It forms part of the 'golden triangle' of British universities.[17]

King's is one of the top universities in the world and its graduates are highly sought by firms across the globe; in a survey, by the New York Times, of global business leaders when asked to name the top universities they like to recruit from, King's ranked 22nd in the world and 5th in the UK.[18]



King's College, so named to indicate the patronage of King George IV, was founded in 1829 in response to the theological controversy surrounding the founding of "London University" (which later became University College London) in 1827.[19][20] London University was founded, with the backing of Utilitarians, Jews and non-Anglican Christians, as a secular institution, intended to educate "the youth of our middling rich people between the ages of 15 or 16 and 20 or later"[21] giving its nickname, "the godless college in Gower Street".[22]

The need for such an institution was a result of the religious and social nature of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which then educated solely the sons of wealthy Anglicans.[23] The secular nature of London University was disapproved by The Establishment, indeed, "the storms of opposition which raged around it threatened to crush every spark of vital energy which remained".[24] Thus, the creation of a rival institution represented a Tory response to reassert the educational values of The Establishment.[25] More widely, King's was one of the first of a series of institutions which came about in the early nineteenth century as a result of the Industrial Revolution and great social changes in England following the Napoleonic Wars.[26] By virtue of its foundation King's has enjoyed the patronage of the monarch, the Archbishop of Canterbury as its Visitor and during the nineteenth century counted among its official governors the Lord Chancellor, Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Mayor of London.[26]

Rumours in the press of a competing institution in the tradition of the established church appeared in 1827, but the idea was first defined early in 1828 by Reverend Dr George D'Oyly, Rector of Lambeth, in an open letter to Sir Robert Peel, the then Home Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons.[19][27][28] A scheme emerged during the summer of 1828 and a public meeting to launch King's, chaired by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and attended by the Archbishops of York, Canterbury and Armagh, and two members of the Cabinet (Peel and the Earl of Aberdeen) was held on 21 June 1828.[19][20] A committee of twenty-seven was appointed to raise funds and to frame regulations and building plans, but the sum raised by subscription was inadequate.[19] The Crown granted a site lying between the Strand and the Thames to the College and building began in 1829.[19]

A royal charter to incorporate King's College was granted by George IV on 14 August 1829, stating the intention of the new College:[19]

...for the general education of youth in which the various branches of Literature and Science are intended to be taught, and also the doctrines and duties of Christianity... inculcated by the United Church of England and Ireland.
—Royal charter incorporating King's College, 14 August 1829.

The government of the College was vested in a council consisting of nine official governors, five of whom were clergymen, eight life governors, a treasurer, and 24 other members of the Corporation.[19] Several potential sites for the College were discussed including Buckingham Palace and Regent's Park,[25] however eventually the Treasury provided a site between the Strand and the Thames, running parallel to the yet unfinished Somerset House at a peppercorn rent in perpetuity.[29][30]

Duel in Battersea Fields, 21 March 1829

The Duke of Wellington's simultaneous support for an Anglican King's College and the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which was to lead to the granting of almost full civil rights to Catholics, was challenged by George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea, in early 1829. Winchilsea and his supporters wished for King's to be subject to the Test Acts, like the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, where only members of the Church of England could matriculate,[31] but this was not Wellington's intent.[32]

Winchilsea and about 150 other contributors withdrew their support of the new College in response to Wellington's support of Catholic emancipation. Accusations against Wellington were published in a letter to the Standard on 14 March where Winchilsea charged the Prime Minister with insincerity in his support for the new College.[33][34] In a letter to Wellington he wrote, "I have come to view the College as an instrument in a wider programme designed to promote the Roman Catholic faith and undermine the established church." Winchilsea also accused the Duke to have in mind "insidious designs for the infringement of our liberty and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State".[35]

The letter provoked a furious exchange of correspondence and Wellington accused Winchilsea of imputing him with "disgraceful and criminal motives" in setting up King's College. When Winchilsea refused to retract the remarks, Wellington – by his own admission, "no advocate of duelling" and a virgin duellist – demanded satisfaction in a contest of arms: "I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require, and which a gentleman never refuses to give."[34]

The result was a duel in Battersea Fields on 21 March 1829.[20][36] Winchilsea did not fire, a plan he and his second almost certainly decided upon before the duel; Wellington took aim and fired wide to the right. Accounts differ as to whether Wellington missed on purpose. Wellington, noted for his poor aim, claimed he did, other reports more sympathetic to Winchilsea claimed he had aimed to kill.[37] Honour was saved and Winchilsea wrote Wellington an apology.[35] "Duel Day" is still celebrated on the first Thursday after 21 March every year, marked by various events throughout the College, including re-enactments.[36][38]

19th century

King's opened in October 1831 with William Otter, a clergyman, appointed as first Principal and lecturer in divinity.[19] Despite the intentions of its founders and the chapel at the heart of its buildings, the initial prospectus permitted, "nonconformists of all sorts to enter the college freely".[39] William Howley, the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the opening ceremony in which a sermon was given in the chapel by Charles Blomfield, the Bishop of London on the subject of combining religious instruction with intellectual culture. The governors and the professors, except the linguists, had to be members of the Church of England but the students did not,[40] though attendance at Chapel was compulsory.[41]

The College was divided into a Senior department and a Junior department, also known as King's College School, which was originally situated in the basement of the Strand Campus.[19] The Junior department started with 85 pupils and only three teachers, but quickly grew to 500 by 1841, outgrowing its facilities and leading it to relocate to Wimbledon in 1897 where it remains today, though it is no longer associated with the College.[40] Within the Senior department teaching was divided into three courses. A general course comprised divinity, classical languages, mathematics, English literature and history. Secondly, there was the medical course. Thirdly, miscellaneous subjects, such as law, political economy and modern languages, which were not related to any systematic course of study at the time and depended for their continuance on the supply of occasional students.[19] In 1833 the general course was reorganised leading to the award of the Associate of King's College (A.K.C.), the first qualification issued by King's.[19] The course, which concerns questions of ethics and theology, is still awarded today to students and staff who take an optional three-year course alongside their studies.

The river frontage was completed in April 1835 at a cost of £7,100,[42] its completion a condition of the College securing the site from the Crown.[19] Unlike those in the school, student numbers in the Senior department remained almost stationary during the first five years of the College's existence. During this time the medical school was blighted by inefficiency and the divided loyalties of the staff leading to a steady decline in attendance. One of the most important appointments was that of Charles Wheatstone as professor of Experimental Philosophy.[19]

At this time, neither King's, nor "London University" had the ability to confer degrees, a particular problem for medical students who wished to practise. Amending this situation was aided by the appointment of Henry Brougham, as Lord Chancellor, who was chairman of the governors of "London University". In this position he automatically became a governor of King's. In the understanding that the government was unlikely to grant degree-awarding powers on two institutions in London, negotiations led to the colleges federating as the "University of London" in 1836, "London University" thus becoming University College.[23] The governors at King's were offended at the exclusion of divinity from the syllabus by the federal university which was founded as an examining body and advised students to take the Oxford or Cambridge examinations, however, the power of the university to confer degrees marked a period of limited expansion at the College.[19][40]

In 1840 the College opened King's College Hospital on Portugal Street near Lincoln's Inn Fields, an area composed of overcrowded rookeries characterised by poverty and disease. The governance of the hospital was later transferred to the corporation of the hospital established by the King's College Hospital Act 1851, and eventually moved to new premises in Denmark Hill, Camberwell in 1913. The appointment in 1877 of Joseph Lister as professor of clinical surgery greatly benefited the medical school, and the introduction of Lister's antiseptic surgical methods gained the hospital an international reputation.[19] In 1855 the College pioneered evening classes in London.[40] In 1882 the King's College London Act amended the constitution, the objects of the College extended to include the education of women.[19]

20th century

See also Contribution of King's College London to the discovery of the structure of DNA and Photo 51

The King's College London Act 1903, abolished all remaining religious tests for staff, except within the Theological department. The end of the First World War saw an influx of students, which strained existing facilities to the point where some classes were held in the Principal's house.[19] A government proposal to relocate the College premises to Bloomsbury was considered, but finally rejected in 1925.[43] During the Second World War most students and staff were evacuated out of London to Bristol and Glasgow.[19][44] The College buildings were used by the Auxiliary Fire Service with a number of College staff, mainly those then known as College servants, serving as firewatchers. Parts of the Strand building, the quadrangle, and the roof of apse and stained glass windows of the chapel suffered bomb damage in the Blitz.[45][46] During reconstruction, the vaults beneath the quadrangle were replaced by a two-storey laboratory, which opened in 1952, for the departments of Physics and Civil and Electrical Engineering.[19]

One of the most famous pieces of scientific research performed at King's were the crucial contributions to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, together with Raymond Gosling, Alex Stokes, Herbert Wilson and other colleagues at the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King's.[47][48][49]

Major reconstruction of the College began in 1966 following the publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education. A new block facing the Strand designed by E. D. Jefferiss Mathews was opened in 1972.[40] The College underwent several mergers with other institutions, including Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College of Science and Technology in 1985, the Institute of Psychiatry in 1997, and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals were reincorporated in 1998 after becoming independent of the College at the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948.[40][50] In 1998 Florence Nightingale's original training school for nurses merged with the King's Department of Nursing Studies as the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery. The same year the College acquired the former Public Records Office building on Chancery Lane and converted it at a cost of £35 million into the Maughan Library, which opened in 2002.[40]

2001 to present

In 2003, the College was granted degree-awarding powers in its own right, as opposed to through the University of London, by the Privy Council. This power remained unexercised until 2007, when the College announced that all students starting courses from September 2007 onwards would be awarded degrees conferred by King's itself, rather than by the University of London. The new certificates however still make reference to the fact that King's is a constituent college of the University of London.[51] All current students with at least one year of study remaining were in August 2007 offered the option of choosing to be awarded a University of London degree or a King's degree. In 2007, for the second consecutive year, students from the School of Law won the national round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The Jessup moot is the largest international mooting competition in the world. The King's team went on to represent the UK as national champions.[52]

In 2010 the College announced that 205 jobs were put at risk in response to government funding cuts.[53][54] Among the proposed cuts was the UK's only chair of palaeography, two leading computational linguists, and the department of Engineering, believed to be the oldest in the UK (established in 1838), sparking an international campaign from academics.[53][55]

In November 2010, King's launched a fundraising campaign to raise £500 million by 2015 for research into five areas: cancer, global power, neuroscience and mental health, leadership and society and children's health.[56] Over £400 million has been raised as of March 2013.[57] In 2011 the Chemistry department was reopened following its closure in 2003.[58]

In April 2011 King's became a partner in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, subsequently renamed the Francis Crick Institute, committing £40 million to the project.[59]

In March 2013, Rick Trainor announced that he would step down as Principal of King's in October 2014, after serving for ten years.[57]


Strand Campus

The Strand Campus is the founding campus of King's. It is located on the Strand in the City of Westminster, sharing its frontage along the River Thames. Most of the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Law, Social Science & Public Policy and Natural & Mathematical Sciences (formerly Physical Sciences & Engineering) are housed here. The campus combines the Grade I listed King's Building of 1831 designed by Sir Robert Smirke, and the Byzantine Gothic College Chapel, redesigned in 1864 by Sir George Gilbert Scott with the more modern Strand Building, completed in 1972. The Chesham Building in Surrey Street was purchased after the Second World War. The Macadam Building of 1975 houses the Strand Campus Students' Union centre and is named after King's alumnus Sir Ivison Macadam, first President of the National Union of Students.

Marble statues of Sappho and Sophocles were bequeathed by Frida Mond in 1923, a friend of Israel Gollancz, Professor of English Language and Literature at King's. They were placed in the lobby of the King's Building, where they have remained ever since.[60]


Main article: King's College London Chapel

The original college chapel was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and was completed in 1831 as part of the College building (later known as the King's building).[61] Given the foundation of the university in the tradition of the Church of England the chapel was intended to be an integral part of the campus.[62] This is reflected in its central location within the King's Building on the first floor above the Great Hall, accessible via a grand double staircase from the foyer. The original chapel was described as a low and broad room "fitted to the ecclesiological notions of George IV's reign."[62] However, by the mid nineteenth century its style had fallen out of fashion and in 1859 a proposal by the College Chaplain Reverend E. H. Plumptre that the original chapel should be reconstructed was approved by the College Council, who agreed that its "meagreness and poverty" made it unworthy of King's.[61]

The College approached Sir George Gilbert Scott to make proposals. In his proposal of 22 December 1859 he suggested that, "There can be no doubt that, in a classic building, the best mode of giving ecclesiastical character is the adoption of the form and, in some degree, the character of an ancient basilica."[61] His proposals for a chapel modelled on the lines of an classical basilica were accepted and the reconstruction was completed in 1864 at a cost of just over £7,000.[61]

Somerset House East Wing

In December 2009, the College signed a 78-year lease to the East Wing of Somerset House.[63] It has been described as one of the longest-ever property negotiations, taking over 180 years to complete.[64] Since the College was built it has been in various discussions to expand into one of the wings of Somerset House itself, however, the relationship between the College and HM Revenue and Customs that occupied the East Wing were sometimes difficult.[65][66][67] Sir Robert Smirke's design of King's was sympathetic to that of Somerset House which is situated adjacent to the Strand Campus.[68] Indeed, a condition of the College acquiring the site in the 1820s was that it should be erected "on a plan which would complete the river front of Somerset House at its eastern extremity in accordance with the original design of Sir William Chambers" which had for so long offended "every eye of taste for its incomplete appearance".[66][67]

In 1875, a dispute arose when new windows were added to the façade overlooking the College. Following a complaint by the College Council at the loss of privacy, the response of the Metropolitan Board of Works was that "the terms under which the college is held are not such as to enable the Council to restrict Her Majesty from opening windows in Somerset House whenever she may think proper".[65] By the end of World War I the College began to outgrow its premises which led to rekindled efforts to acquire the East Wing. There was even a suggestion that the College should be relocated to new premises in Bloomsbury to alleviate space concerns, however, these plans never came to fruition. Instead, a new top floor was added to the King's Building to house the Anatomy Department and other buildings along Surrey Street were purchased.[65]

Following the publication of the Robbins Report on Higher Education in 1963 a further attempt was made to acquire the East Wing. The Report recommended a large expansion in student numbers accommodated by a new building programme. The "quadrilateral plan" was to create a campus stretching from Norfolk Street in the east to Waterloo Bridge Road in the west. Plans were also drawn up for modern high-rise buildings along the Strand and Surrey Street to house a new library and laboratories. A contemporary report stated that the redevelopment would provide "London with a university precinct on the Strand of which the capital could be proud".[65] The plans were revisited in the early 1970s by the then Principal, Sir John Hackett, however, progress was prevented by funding problems and the unwillingness of the Government to re-house its civil servants.[65] In 1971 the Evening Standard led a public campaign for Somerset House to be transformed into a new public arts venue for London. Proposals were also aired for the relocation of the Tate Gallery to the site.[65] In the 1990s the eventual vacation by government departments and a comprehensive restoration programme saw the opening of the Courtauld Gallery, the Gilbert and Hermitage collections and the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.[65][67]

In early 2010 a £25 million renovation of the East Wing was undertaken and took 18 months to complete. On 29 February 2012, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the building.[64] It is home to the School of Law, a public exhibition space called the Inigo Rooms curated by the King's Cultural Institute as well as adding a further entrance to the Strand Campus.[69]

Strand Lane 'Roman bath'

There was an old Roman bath in those days at the bottom of one of the streets out of the Strand—it may be there still—in which I have had many a cold plunge. Dressing myself as quietly as I could, and leaving Peggotty to look after my aunt, I tumbled head foremost into it, and then went for a walk to Hampstead.

— Extract from Chapter 35, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens[70]

A Stuart cistern and later eighteenth century public bath protected by the National Trust[71] and popularly known as the 'Roman bath' is situated on the site of the Strand Campus beneath the Norfolk Building and can be accessed via the Surrey Street entrance.[72] Hidden by surrounding College buildings, the bath was widely thought to be of Roman origin giving its popular name, however it is more likely that it was originally a cistern for a fountain built in the gardens of Somerset House for Queen Anne of Denmark in 1612.[73] Evidence of its first use as a public bath was in the late eighteenth century.[73] The 'Roman bath' is mentioned by Charles Dickens in chapters thirty-five and thirty-six of the novel David Copperfield.[74]

Moreover Aldwych tube station, a well-preserved but disused London Underground station, is integrated as part of the campus. A rifle range used by the College is located on the site of one of the platforms since the closure of the station in 1994.[75][76]

The nearest Underground stations are Temple, Charing Cross and Covent Garden.

Guy's Campus

Guy's Campus is situated close to London Bridge and the Shard on the South Bank of the Thames and is home to the School of Biomedical Sciences (also at the Waterloo Campus), the Dental Institute, and the School of Medicine.[77]

Thomas Guy, the founder and benefactor of Guy's Hospital established in 1726 in the London Borough of Southwark, was a wealthy bookseller and also a governor of the nearby St Thomas' Hospital. He lies buried in the vault beneath the eighteenth-century chapel at Guy's. Silk-merchant William Hunt was a later benefactor who gave money in the early nineteenth century to build Hunt's House. Today this is the site of New Hunt's House. The Henriette Raphael building, constructed in 1903, and the Gordon Museum are also located here. In addition, the Hodgkin building, Shepherd's House and Guy's chapel are prominent buildings within the campus. The Students' Union centre at Guy's is situated in Boland House.

The nearest Underground stations are London Bridge and Borough.

Waterloo Campus

The Waterloo Campus is located across Waterloo Bridge from the Strand Campus, near the South Bank Centre in the London Borough of Lambeth and consists of the James Clerk Maxwell Building and the Franklin-Wilkins Building.

Cornwall House, now the Franklin-Wilkins Building, constructed between 1912 and 1915 was originally the His Majesty's Stationery Office (responsible for Crown copyright and National Archives), but was requisitioned for use as a military hospital in 1915 during World War I. It became the King George Military Hospital, and accommodated about 1,800 patients on 63 wards.[78] The College acquired the building in the 1980s and today it is home to the School of Biomedical Sciences (also at the Guy's Campus), parts of the School of Social Science & Public Policy (also at the Strand Campus), Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division (part of the School of Medicine) and LonDEC (London Dental Education Centre), part of the Dental Institute (also at Guy's and Denmark Hill). The building, one of London's largest university buildings, underwent refurbishment and was reopened in 2000. The building is named after Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins for their major contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA.[79]

The James Clerk Maxwell Building houses the Principal's Office, most of the central administrative offices of the College and part of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery.

The nearest Underground station is Waterloo.

St Thomas' Campus

The St Thomas' Campus in the London Borough of Lambeth, facing the Houses of Parliament across the Thames, houses parts of the School of Medicine and the Dental Institute. The Florence Nightingale Museum is also located here.[80] St Thomas' Hospital became part of King's College London School of Medicine in 1998. The Department of Twin Research (TwinsUk), King's College London is located in St. Thomas' Hospital.

The nearest Underground station is Westminster.

Denmark Hill Campus

Denmark Hill Campus is situated in south London near the borders of the London Borough of Lambeth and the London Borough of Southwark in Camberwell and is the only campus not situated on the River Thames. The campus consists of King's College Hospital, the Maudsley Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP). In addition to the Institute of Psychiatry, parts of the Dental Institute and School of Medicine, and a large hall of residence, King's College Hall, are situated here. Other buildings include the campus library known as the Weston Education Centre (WEC), the James Black Centre, the Rayne Institute (haemato-oncology) and the Cicely Saunders Institute (palliative care).[81]

The nearest Overground station is Denmark Hill.


King's is currently undergoing a £1 billion redevelopment programme of its estates.[82] Since 1999 over half of the College's activities have been relocated in new and refurbished buildings.[83] Major completed projects include a £35 million renovation of the Maughan Library in 2002, a £40 million renovation of buildings at the Strand Campus, a £25 million renovation of Somerset House East Wing, a £30 million renovation of the Denmark Hill Campus in 2007, the renovation of the Franklin-Wilkins Library at the Waterloo Campus and the completion of the £9 million Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care in 2010.[84] The College chapel at the Strand Campus was also restored in 2001.[61]

The Strand Campus redevelopment won the Green Gown Award in 2007 for sustainable construction. The award recognised the "reduced energy and carbon emissions from a sustainable refurbishment of the historic South Range of the King's Building".[85] King's was also the recipient of the 2003 City Heritage Award for the conversion of the Grade II* listed Maughan Library.[86]

Current projects include a £45 million development for the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, £18 million on modernising the College's learning and teaching environments, a sports pavilion at Honor Oak Park.[87] In April 2012 a £20 million redevelopment of the Strand Campus Quad was announced and will provide an additional 3,700 square metres of teaching space and student facilities.[88]

Organisation and administration


The College's formal head is the Principal and President, currently held by Sir Rick Trainor.[89] The office is established by the Charter of the College as "the chief academic and administrative officer of the College" and the College Statutes require the Principal to have the general responsibility to the Council for "ensuring that the objects of the College are fulfilled and for maintaining and promoting the efficiency, discipline and good order of the College".[90] The Charter and Statutes granted in 2009 created the additional title of President. As such the full title of the head of the College is the Principal and President.[91] Senior officers are called the Principal's Central Team. Six Vice-Principals have specific responsibilities for Education; Research and Innovation; Strategy and Development; Arts and Sciences; International (developing the College's global research networks); and Health (where there is also a Deputy Vice-Principal).

The Council is the supreme governing body of the College established under the Charter and Statutes, comprising 21 members. Its membership include the President of KCLSU (as the student member), the Principal and President, up to seven other staff members, and up to 12 lay members who must not be employees of the College.[92] It is supported by a number of standing committees.[93] The current Chairman of the Council is Lord Duoro.[94]

The Dean of King's College is an ordained person, which is unusual among British universities.[95] The Dean is "responsible for overseeing the spiritual development and welfare of all students and staff". The Office of the Dean co-ordinate the Associateship of King's College programme, the Chaplaincy and the Chapel Choir, which includes 25 Choir scholarships.[95] One of the Dean's roles is to encourage and foster vocations to the Church of England priesthood.[96]

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the College Visitor by right of office owing to the role of the Church of England in the College's foundation.[97]

Schools and departments

King's is made up of nine academic schools, which are subdivided into departments, centres and research divisions:

Additionally, there are several global institutes with country-specific and regional focuses which offer postgraduate teaching, organise topical events, and make links between the university and cultural and political organisations:

The Department of War Studies is unique in the UK, and is supported by facilities such as the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, the Centre for Defence Studies,[98] and the King's Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR).[99]

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) is administered through King's, and its students graduate alongside members of the departments which form the School of Arts & Humanities. As RADA does not have degree awarding powers, its courses are validated by King's.[100]

Academic year

King's academic year runs from the last Monday in September to the first Friday in June.[101]

Graduation ceremonies are held in June or July, with ceremonies held in Southwark Cathedral for the School of Medicine and the Dental Institute and in the Barbican Centre for all other Schools.[102] Since 2008 King's graduates have worn gowns designed by Vivienne Westwood.[103]


In the financial year ended 31 July 2012 King's had a total income of £554.22 million (2010/11 – £524.11 million) and total expenditure of £522.71 million (2010/11 – £496.61 million).[1] Key sources of income included £154.75 million from research grants and contracts (2010/11 – £147.1 million), £146.54 million from tuition fees and education contracts (2010/11 – £130.75 million), £140.91 million from Funding Council grants (2010/11 – £147.21 million) and £8.19 million from endowment and investment income (2010/11 – £5.49 million).[1] During the 2011/12 financial year King's had a capital expenditure of £61.39 million (2010/11 – £49.15 million).[1]

At 31 July 2012 King's had total endowments of £130.76 million (31 July 2011 – £124.67 million) and total net assets of £776.31 million (31 July 2011 – £726.87 million).[1] King's has a credit rating of AA from Standard & Poor's.[1]

In October 2010 King's launched a major fundraising campaign fronted by former British Prime Minister John Major, with a goal to raise £500 million by 2015.[104]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms displayed on the College Charter is that of George IV. The shield depicts the royal coat of arms together with an inescutcheon of the House of Hanover, while the supporters embody the College motto of sancte et sapienter. No correspondence is believed to have survived regarding the choice of this coat of arms, either in the College Archives or at the College of Arms, and a wide variety of unofficial adaptations have been used during the history of the College. The current coat of arms was developed following the mergers with Queen Elizabeth College and Chelsea College in 1985, and incorporates aspects of their heraldry. The College's coat of arms, in heraldic terminology, is:[105]

The arms:

Or on a Pale Azure between two Lions rampant respectant Gules an Anchor Gold ensigned by a Royal Crown proper on a Chief Argent an Ancient Lamp proper inflamed Gold between two Blazing Hearths also proper.

The crest and supporters:

On a Helm with a Wreath Or and Azure Upon a Book proper rising from a Coronet Or the rim set with jewels two Azure (one manifest) four Vert (two manifest) and two Gules a demi Lion Gules holding a Rod of Dexter a female figure habited Azure the cloak lined coif and sleeves Argent holding in the exterior hand a Lond Cross botony Gold and sinister a male figure the Long Coat Azure trimmed with Sable proper shirt Argent holding in the interior hand a Book proper.



The Sunday Times has ranked King's as the 6th most difficult UK university to gain admission to.[106] According to the 2008 Times Good University Guide approximately 30% of King's undergraduates come from independent schools.[107]

At the undergraduate level admission to King's is extremely competitive. In 2011 some courses, such as English, Law and Business Management, had 15 or more applicants per place or an acceptance rate of less than 7.5 percent.[108]


King's is the largest centre for healthcare education in Europe.[109] King's College London School of Medicine has over 2,000 undergraduate students, over 1,400 teachers, four main teaching hospitals – Guy's Hospital, King's College Hospital, St Thomas' Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham – and 17 associated district general hospitals.[110] King's College London Dental Institute is the largest dental school in Europe.[111] The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery is the oldest professional school of nursing in the world.[112]

King's is a major centre for biomedical research. It is a founding member of King's Health Partners, one of the largest academic health sciences centres in Europe with a turnover of over £2 billion and approximately 25,000 employees.[109] It also is home to six Medical Research Council centres, the most of any British university,[113] and is part of two of the twelve biomedical research centres established by the NHS in England – the Guy's & St Thomas'/King's College London Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre and the South London and Maudsley/KCL Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre.[114]

The Drug Control Centre at King's was established in 1978 and is the only WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory in the UK and holds the official UK contract for running doping tests on UK athletes.[115] In 1997, it became the first International Olympic Committee accredited laboratory to meet the ISO/IEC 17025 quality standard.[116] The Centre was the anti-doping facility for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[117]


King's library facilities are spread across its five campuses. The College's estate also includes the library at Bethlem Royal Hospital in the London Borough of Bromley.[118] The collections encompass over one million printed books, as well as thousands of journals and electronic resources.

Maughan Library

Main article: Maughan Library

The Maughan Library is King's largest library and is housed in the Grade II* listed 19th century gothic former Public Record Office building situated on Chancery Lane near the Strand Campus. The building was designed by Sir James Pennethorne and is home to the books and journals of the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Law, Natural & Mathematical Sciences, and Social Science & Public Policy. It also houses the Special Collections and rare books. Inside the Library is the octagonal Round Reading Room, inspired by the reading room of the British Museum, and the former Rolls Chapel (renamed the Weston Room following a donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation) with its stained glass windows, mosaic floor and monuments, including an important Renaissance terracotta figure by Pietro Torrigiano of Dr Yonge, Master of the Rolls, who died in 1516.

Other libraries

  • The Foyle Special Collections Library at Chancery Lane houses a collection of over 150,000 printed works as well as thousands of maps, slides, sound recordings and some manuscript material.[119]
  • The Tony Arnold Library at Chancery Lane houses a collection of over 3000 law books and 140 law journals. It was named after Tony Arnold, the longest serving Secretary of the Institute of Taxation. In September 2001 the library became part of the law collection of King's College London.[120]
  • The Franklin-Wilkins Library at the Waterloo Campus is home to extensive management and education holdings, as well as wide-ranging biomedical, health and life sciences coverage includes nursing, midwifery, public health, pharmacy, biological and environmental sciences, biochemistry and forensic science.[121]
  • The New Hunt's House Library at Guy's Campus covers all aspects of biomedical science. There are also extensive resources for medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy and health services.[122]
  • The Weston Education Centre Library at the Denmark Hill Campus has particular strengths in the areas of gastroenterology, liver disease, diabetes, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics and the history of medicine.[123]
  • The St Thomas' House Library holdings cover all aspects of basic medical sciences, clinical medicine and health services research.[124]
  • The Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) Library is the largest psychiatric library in Western Europe, holding 3,000 print journal titles, 550 of which are current subscriptions, as well as access to over 3,500 electronic journals, 38,000 books, and training materials.[125]
  • The Bethlem Royal Hospital Library contains a smaller collection to support students and staff working at the hospital.[126]


(2013, national)
(2013, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[131]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[132]
(2014, national)

Internationally, King's is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the world by all major global university rankings compilers, having been placed between 19th by the 2013 QS World University Rankings[11] and 38th worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[133]

According to the 2009 Times Good University Guide, several subjects taught at King's including Law, History, European Studies and War Studies (both categorised under politics), Classics, Spanish, Portuguese, Music, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Food Science (specifically Nutritional Sciences) are among the top five in the country.[134]

According to the 2010 Complete University guide, many subjects at King's including Classics, English, French, Geography, German, History, Music, Philosophy and Theology, rank within the top 10 nationally. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5 or 5* for research quality,[135] and in 2007 it received a good result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.[135] It is in the top tier for research earnings. In September 2010, the Sunday Times selected King's as the "University of the Year 2010–11".[136]


See Category:Fellows of King's College London

The Fellowship of King's College London (FKC) is the most prestigious award the College can bestow. The award of the Fellowship is governed by a statute of the College and reflects distinguished service to the College by a member of staff, conspicuous service to the College, or the achievement of distinction by those who were at one time closely associated with the College.[137]

Student life

King's College London Students' Union

Founded in 1873, King's College London Union Society which later developed into King's College London Students' Union, better known by its acronym KCLSU, is the oldest Students' Union in London (University College London Union being founded in 1893)[138] and has a claim to being the oldest Students' Union in England.[139][140] The Students' Union provides a wide range of activities and services, including over 50 sports clubs (which includes the Boat Club which rows on the River Thames and the Rifle Club which uses the College's shooting range located at the disused Aldwych tube station beneath the Strand Campus),[141] over 200 activity groups,[142] a wide range of volunteering opportunities, two bars/eateries (The Waterfront and Guy's Bar), a shop (King's Shop) and a gym (Kinetic Fitness Club). Between 1992 and 2013 the Students' Union operated a nightclub, Tutu's, named after alumnus Desmond Tutu.[143]

The former President of KCLSU Sir Ivison Macadam, after whom the Students' Union building on the Strand Campus has since been named, went on to be elected as the first President of the National Union of Students, and KCLSU has played an active role there and in the University of London Union ever since.

KCLSU publishes a monthly newspaper called Roar! which carries news stories, reviews and features on a range of topics and reporting on Students' Union events, campaigns, clubs and societies, as well as coverage of the arts, books and fashion.

Reggie the Lion (informally Reggie) is the official mascot of the Students' Union. In total there are three Reggies in existence. The original can be found on display in the Macadam Building in the Students' Union student centre at the Strand Campus. A papier-mâché Reggie lives outside the Great Hall at the Strand Campus and a small sterling silver incarnation is displayed during graduation ceremonies.


There are over 50 sports clubs, many of which compete in the University of London and British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) leagues across the South East.[141] The annual Macadam Cup is a varsity match played between the sports teams of King's College London proper (KCL) and King's College London Medical School (KCLMS).

Student-led think tank

In November 2011, KCL students founded London's first student-led think tank, the KCL Think Tank. With a membership of around 2000, it is the largest organisation of its kind in Europe.[144] This student initiative organises lectures and discussions in seven different policy areas, and assists students in lobbying politicians, NGOs and other policymakers with their ideas. Every September, it produces a peer-reviewed journal of policy recommendations called The Spectrum.[145][146]

Rivalry with University College London

Main articles: King's College London and UCL rivalry and The London Varsity

Competition within the University of London is most intense between King's and University College London, the two oldest institutions. Indeed, the University of London when it was established has been described as "an umbrella organisation designed to disguise the rivalry between UCL and KCL."[147] In the early twentieth century, King's College London and UCL rivalry was centred on their respective mascots.[148] University College's was Phineas Maclino, a wooden tobacconist's sign of a kilted Jacobite Highlander purloined from outside a shop in Tottenham Court Road during the celebrations of the relief of Ladysmith in 1900. King's later addition was a giant beer bottle representing "bottled youth". In 1923 it was replaced by a new mascot to rival Phineas – Reggie the Lion, who made his debut at a King's-UCL sporting rag in December 1923, protected by a lifeguard of engineering students armed with T-squares. Thereafter, Reggie formed the centrepiece of annual freshers' processions by King's students around Aldwych in which new students were typically flour bombed.

Although riots between respective College students occurred in central London well into the 1950s, rivalry is now limited to the rugby union pitch and skulduggery over mascots, with an annual Varsity match taking place between King's College London RFC and University College London RFC.[148][149]

Rivalry with the London School of Economics

On 2 December 2005, tensions between King's and the London School of Economics (LSE) were ignited when at least 200 students from LSE (located in Aldwych near the Strand Campus) diverted off from the annual "barrel run" and caused an estimated £32,000 (The Beaver, LSESU student newspaper, 26 September 2006) of damage to the English department at King's.[150] Principal Sir Rick Trainor called for no retaliation and LSE Students' Union were forced to issue an apology as well as foot the bill for the damage repair. While LSE officially condemned the action, a photograph was published in The Beaver which was later picked up by The Times that showed LSE Director Sir Howard Davies drinking with members of the LSE Students' Union shortly before the barrel run and subsequent "rampage" began. King's appears to have been targeted, however, principally owing to its close proximity to LSE rather than by any ill-feeling. There is also somewhat of a sporting rivalry between the two institutions, albeit to a lesser extent than with UCL.

College prayer

A College prayer is said in morning prayer each weekday in Chapel to pray for the life of the College.[151]

The College Prayer

ALMIGHTY God, the Fountain of Wisdom
and the Giver of every perfect gift;
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy;
Send down, we beseech you, your blessing upon this College,
and prosper the designs of its founders and benefactors.
Enable us, by your grace,
faithfully to discharge the duties of our several stations,
remembering the strict and solemn account
which we must one day give
before the judgement-seat of Christ.
More particularly we pray, that the seeds of Learning, Virtue and Religion, here sown, may bring forth fruit abundantly to your glory and the benefit of our fellow creatures.
These and all other blessings, for them and for us, we humbly ask in the name and through the mediation
of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Student residences

Halls of residence

King's has a total of eight halls of residence located throughout London. Priority is given to students whose home address is outside the M25 motorway.[152]



Intercollegiate halls of residence

In addition to halls of residence run by King's, full-time students are eligible to stay at one of the Intercollegiate Halls of Residence offered by the University of London. King's has the largest number of bedspaces in the University of London Intercollegiate Halls.[153] The halls are:

Additionally, students can apply to live in International Students House.

Notable people

Notable alumni

King's has educated numerous foreign Heads of State and Government including two former Presidents of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos (Law, 1955),[160] and Glafcos Clerides (Law, 1948),[161] Prime Minister of Jordan Marouf al-Bakhit (War Studies, 1990),[162] President of the Seychelles France-Albert René (Law),[163] Prime Minister of the Bahamas Sir Lynden Pindling (Law, 1952),[164] President of Uganda Godfrey Binaisa (Law, 1955),[165] Prime Minister of Iraq Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz,[166] Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis Sir Lee Moore (Law & Theology),[167] Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands Martin Bourke (War Studies, 1970),[168] and Governor of the Cape Colony Lord Milner. King's is also the alma mater of the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins, Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Shridath Ramphal (Law, 1952),[169] architect of the Indian freedom movement Sarojini Naidu,[170] and the ill-fated scion of the Bonaparte Dynasty Prince Eugene Napoléon (Physics & mathematics).[171]

Notable King's alumni to have held senior positions in British politics include the British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen, two Speakers of the House of Commons in Lord Maybray-King (English) and Lord Ullswater, and the former Cabinet Ministers Lord MacGregor (Law, 1962), Lord Watkinson (Engineering), Lord Passfield, and Lord Wilmot. As of the current Parliament there are 17 King's graduates in the House of Commons, and 15 King's graduates in the House of Lords.

In Law, King's alumni include the Senior President of Tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan (Law, 1967);[172] current High Court Judges Sir David Foskett (Law, 1970) and Dame Geraldine Andrews (Law, 1982);[173][174] former President of the International Court of Justice Muhammad Zafarullah Khan; Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Lord Carlile (Law, 1969);[175] Law Lord Lord Edmund-Davies, and the Chief Justice of Western Australia Wayne Martin (Law, 1975).

King's alumni in religion include the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu (Theology, 1966),[176] former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey (Theology, 1962),[177] Head of the Church of Ireland Richard Clarke (Theology & Religious Studies, 1975), former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Lord Sacks (Theology & Religious Studies, 1981),[178] and the current Lords Spiritual of Winchester, Guildford, and Truro.

Notable King's alumni in poetry and literature include the poet John Keats (Medicine), and the writers Thomas Hardy (French), Sir Arthur C. Clarke (Mathematics & Physics), W. Somerset Maugham, Alain de Botton (Philosophy), C.S. Forester, Charles Kingsley, Virginia Woolf, John Ruskin, Radclyffe Hall, Susan Hill, Hanif Kureishi (Philosophy), Michael Morpurgo (French & English), Sir Leslie Stephen, and the Booker Prize winner Anita Brookner (History). In addition, the dramatist Sir W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan graduated from King's.

King's alumni in the field of entertainment include the impressionist Rory Bremner (Modern Languages, 1984);[179] Queen bassist John Deacon;[179] Oscar winners Greer Garson and Edmund Gwenn; Grammy Award winners Boris Karloff, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Music) and Peter Asher (Philosophy); Emmy Award winning director Sacha Gervasi (History, 1988), and the Golden Globe winning composor Michael Nyman (Music, 1971).

King's alumni in the sciences include Nobel laureates Peter Higgs (Physics, 1954),[180] Michael Levitt (Physics, 1967),[181] Max Theiler and Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins;[14][182] polymath Sir Francis Galton; pathologist Thomas Hodgkin; pioneer of IVF Patrick Steptoe; DNA researchers Raymond Gosling and Herbert Wilson, and the botanist David Bellamy.[183]

King's is also the alma mater of the founder of Bentley Motors, Walter Bentley; journalist Martin Bashir (Religious History, 1985);[184] current head of the Royal Marines Ed Davis (Defence Studies); former head of the British Army Lord Harding, and the Olympic gold medalists Katherine Grainger (Law, 2013),[185] and Kieran West (War Studies, 2005).[186]

Heads of state and government

State Leader Office Reference
Sir Lynden Pindling Premier 1967–1969; Prime Minister 1969–1992
Tassos Papadopoulos President 2003–2008
Glafcos Clerides Acting President 1974; President 1993–2003
Lord Harding Governor 1955–1957
Napoléon, Prince Imperial Emperor of the French (titular) 1873–1879
Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz Temporary President 1966; Prime Minister 1965–1966
Michael Collins Chairman of the Provisional Government 1922
Marouf al-Bakhit Prime Minister 2005–2007; 2011
Sir Lee Moore Premier 1979–1980
Sir Sydney Gun-Munro Governor 1976–1979; Governor-General 1979–1985
France-Albert René Prime Minister 1976–1977; President 1977–2004
Lord Milner Governor of Cape Colony 1897–1901
Martin Bourke Governor 1993–1996
Godfrey Binaisa President 1979–1981

Notable faculty and staff

See also Category:Academics of King's College London

King's has benefited from the services of academics at the top of their fields, including:

Nobel laureates

There are 12 Nobel laureates who were either students or academics at King's.[14] And there has been at least 2 missed possibilities due to affiliates' early death (i.e. Patrick Steptoe and Rosalind Franklin).

Name Prize Year Rationale
Charles Barkla Physics
For the discovery of X-ray fluorescence
Sir Owen Richardson Physics
For pioneering the study of thermionics
Sir Frederick Hopkins Physiology or Medicine
For research on vitamins and beriberi
Sir Charles Sherrington Physiology or Medicine
For research on the nervous system
Sir Edward Appleton Physics
For exploration of the ionosophere
Max Theiler Physiology or Medicine
For developing a vaccine for yellow fever
Maurice Wilkins Physiology or Medicine
For the discovery of the structure of DNA
Desmond Tutu Peace
For his unifying role in the campaign against apartheid
Sir James Black Physiology or Medicine
For the development of beta-blocker and anti-ulcer drugs
Mario Vargas Llosa Literature
For his trenchant images of resistance, revolt, and defeat
Peter Higgs Physics
For the discovery of the origin of mass in subatomic particles
Michael Levitt Chemistry
For the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems

In popular culture

In the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Resident Patient, Dr Percy Trevelyan describes himself as a "London University man" who joined King's College Hospital after graduating.

In the Sherlock episode "The Blind Banker", King's College London can be seen listed in Watson's curriculum vitae.

King's Department of Theology's library plays a widely fictionalised part in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

In Philip Roth's novel The Professor of Desire, the main character David Kepesh spent a certain period of time studying comparative literature at the College on a Fulbright Scholarship.

The Neo-Classical facade of the College, with the passage which connects the Strand to Somerset House terrace has been utilised to reproduce the late Victorian Strand in the opening scenes of Oliver Parker's 2002 film The Importance of Being Earnest. The East Wing of the College appears, as a part of Somerset House, in a number of other productions, such as Wilde, Flyboys and The Duchess.


  • – quarterly newsletter.
  • – annual publication.
  • – annual publication.

Further reading

  • Huelin, G. (1978) King's College London, 1828–1978.
  • Jones, C. K. (2004) King's College London: In the service of society.

External links

  • Official website
  • Virtual Tour of King's College London
  • King's College London lists of students who graduated over 80 years ago, 1836–
  • King's College London military personnel, 1914–1918

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.