King's College London

King's College London
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King's College London logo

Motto Sancte et sapienter
"With holiness and with wisdom"
Established 1829
Principal Prof Rick Trainor
Location London, United Kingdom
Students 21,500 total
Faculty 8,500
Member of University of London, Russell Group

King's College London (often abbreviated to KCL) in London is the largest college in the federal University of London, with 21,500 registered students. King's was so named to indicate the patronage of King George IV.



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King's College Cornwall House

King's began on a site adjacent to Somerset House in the Strand, still in use and still organized around the original building; the university has spread to several other campuses as well, including the Guy's campus near London Bridge; the St. Thomas' campus facing the Houses of Parliament across the Thames; Waterloo campus across from the BFI London Imax; the Hampstead Halls campus, formerly the site of Westfield College, since merged with Queen Mary and the Denmark Hill campus in south London. The current institution is the product of the merger of King's with a number of other institutions over the years, including Queen Elizabeth College, Chelsea College, the Institute of Psychiatry, and the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals.

General information


King's was founded in 1829 with Crown, Church of England and political support amid popular opposition to the foundation of humanist University College London on Gower Street. Indeed a duel [1] ( was fought over the College's honour between the then-Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and the Earl of Winchilsea who questioned the Prime Minister's support for Catholic and Anglican institutions, but nobody was injured. Rivalry between the two colleges continues today: UCL often claims superiority over King's through its higher rankings in university league tables, but King's is widely supposed to be the more famous of the two colleges. Both federated into the nascent University of London when it was established by charter in 1836.

In addition to the founding of the College in 1829, King's College School was created as the Junior Department. The School's premises were in the basement of the King's College site east of Somerset House, but later moved to its current site in Wimbledon in 1897.

The first qualification that King's issued was the Associate of King's College or the AKC. This is still awarded today to students and staff who take an optional two to three year course through the Dean's Office.

Current Position

King's is a member of the elite Russell Group of leading research universities and is consistently ranked as one of the top 20 universities in Europe, and is particularly highly regarded for medicine, engineering, history, theology and law. It has the fifth largest endowment of UK universities, the fourth largest endowment per student, and has credit ratings of AA-/Stable/A-1 (Standard & Poor's).

Notable Features

Florence Nightingale's original training school for nurses was at St Thomas' Hospital and King's College Hospital. Perhaps the most famous scholarly research performed at King's was the work by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins that was essential to the discovery by James D. Watson and Francis Crick of the structure of DNA.

King's is also known for its top ranked War Studies department that attracts students with both a civilian and military background across the world. It is supported by facilities such as the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives and the King's Centre for Military Health.

The current Principal is Professor Rick Trainor, formerly Vice-Chancellor of University of Greenwich.

Students' Union

Main article: King's College London Students' Union

King's College London Students' Union (KCLSU) is the second oldest in London, founded just after University College London Union, and provides an enormous range of activities and services: over 50 sports clubs, 60 societies, a wide range of volunteering opportunities, 2 bars, 2 nightclubs, shops, eating places and even a gym. Recently, a third site was opened at the Waterloo campus which finally completes development of services across the three key KCL sites. A former President of KCLSU, Sir Ivison Macadam went on to be elected as the first President of the NUS and the Union has played an active role there and in the University of London Union ever since. Competition and rivalries within the University of London between King's and University College London are still fierce but unlike the riots between respective College students in central London that still occurred until the 1950s, things are now limited to the rugby pitch and skullduggery over mascots.

The current President of KCLSU is Michael Champion.

Famous alumni

Well-known alumni of King's College include:

See also

There is also a King's College, Cambridge.


  • F.J.C. Hearnshaw (1929). The Centenary History of King's College London. George G. Harrap & Co..

External links

Recognized bodies of the University of London

Birkbeck | Goldsmiths | Heythrop | Imperial | Institute of Cancer Research | Institute of Education | King's | London Business School | LSE | London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Queen Mary | Royal Academy of Music | Royal Holloway | Royal Veterinary College | St George's | SOAS | School of Pharmacy | UCL

Listed bodies

British Institute in Paris | Courtauld Institute of Art | School of Advanced Study | University Marine Biological Station, Millport


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