the highlights of the 175th anniversary of king's college london (2004)

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  • 175th anniversary of Kings College London a year of events & celebrations

    The Strand today

    In 1829 Kings College London was founded with the help of some powerful friends. King George IV graciously granted the fledgling college a royal

    charter, in order to help distinguish it from the godless college in Gower Street (later University College London). The Duke of Wellington (then Prime Minister) rose early one morning in March to fight the only duel of his life to defend his role in the Colleges establishment. Seven years later, when the University of London was established, Kings became one of its two founding colleges.

    KIngs and Its hIstory

    KIngs and Its peopLe175 years of research & teaching

    It would be impossible to imagine 21st century life without the advances made by Kings people over the years.

    If this sounds far-fetched, consider our reliance on the following:

    surgery: without Joseph Listers invention of antiseptic surgery, modern aseptic surgical techniques could not have evolved tV, radio, radar, mobile telephones: hard to imagine without James Clerk Maxwells discovery of the nature of electro-magnetic waveselectric supply: John Daniells constant-cell battery was the first reliable source of electricitydna: the discovery of the structure of DNA, in large part due to the work of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkinstelecommunications: Charles Wheatstones development of wireless telegraphy and Edward Appletons discovery of the atmospheric layers which carry radio signals were the key to the development of modern telecomm-unications and the development of radarhealthcare: Florence Nightingales vision for nursing and development of the first professional nurse training laid the foundations for the delivery of modern healthcare

    In addition, Kings people have made a vital contribution to many other areas of modern life: from the development of higher education for all, human rights and international law to contemporary music and literature.

    a leading international universityKings today is a leading international university institution in the heart of London, with over 19,000 students and more than 5,000 staff in ten schools of study. In the course of its history the College has grown and developed through many mergers. In 1983 Kings and its School of Medicine were reunited. In 1985 Kings merged with Chelsea College and with Queen Elizabeth College. In 1997 the College was joined with the Institute of Psychiatry, and in 1998 with the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guys and St Thomass Hospitals (UMDS).

    an education for womenKings was among the first higher education institutions to provide education for women and to offer evening classes, and it was a pioneer of modular degrees. The alumni of Kings and its associated institutions include Nobel Peace Laureate former Archbishop Desmond Tutu; writers such as Anita Brookner, Arthur C Clarke, Thomas Hardy, Susan Hill, Susan Howatch, John Keats, Hanif Kureishi and Somerset Maughan; musicians including John Eliot Gardiner, Ian Shaw and Michael Nyman; scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and James Clerk Maxwell; many distinguished industrialists and politicians.

    Joseph Lister, the father of antiseptic surgery, Professor of Surgery at Kings from 1877 to 1893

    Florence nightingale established the first professional school of nursing at St Thomas Hospital in 1860

    Charles Wheatstone, Professor of Experimental Philosophy at Kings from 1834, was a pioneer of wireless telegraphy

    edward appleton Wheatstone Professor of Physics at Kings from 1924 to 1936, was one of seven scientists from Kings and its associated institutions who have won the Nobel Prize

    John Frederic daniell developed the first reliable source of electricity in 1836

    rosalind Franklin took the famous photo 51 of DNA at Kings in May 1952

    James Clerk Maxwell, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Kings from 1860 to 1865

    emmeline Jean hansen co-discovered how muscles work in 1954, first woman from Kings to become a fellow of the Royal Society

    Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize for his work on the structure of DNA in 1962

    The Strand in 1831

    John Keats Thomas Hardy

    great hall

    strand campus

    thursday 22 January 2004

    Speaker: desmond tutu former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Prize winner

    Theme: Citizenship in post-Conflict society

    One of Kings most distinguished alumni, the Most

    Reverend Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of Cape

    Town and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, opened

    the celebrations for the anniversary year with a

    Commemoration Oration.

    The Commemoration Oration celebrates Kings as

    a place of learning, commemorates the vision of its

    founders and benefactors and marks the achievements of

    the Colleges staff and students in the arts and sciences.

    Once an annual celebration at Kings, the tradition of the

    Commemoration Oration was revived in 2004 to mark the

    opening of the Colleges 175th anniversary year.

    Commemoration Oration: a celebratory event

    desMond tutu

    a Christian priest first and foremost, Desmond Tutu is regarded as one of the great civil rights campaigners

    and statesmen for his leadership in the fight against the South African apartheid system.

    An alumnus and Fellow of the College, Tutu says: Kings gave me the opportunity to prove to myself and to the world that ability has nothing to do with such biological insignificances as skin colour. This confidence has stayed with me throughout my life.

    After returning to South Africa, Tutu went on to become Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches to end apartheid.

    Tutu retired as Archbishop in 1996 but continued to work in one of his most challenging roles yet, as the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he presided over the traumatic revelation of the secrets of apartheid.

    Tutus the Student Union night-club at Kings is named after him.

    CoMMeMoratIon at KIngs

    the first Commemoration Week at Kings was held in December 1920, and the tradition continued until the 1980s as a celebration of the corporate

    life of the College. In July 1920 the Secretary of the Union Society (later the Students Union) proposed to the Council and Delegacy (the governing bodies of the College) that there should be a week-long programme of events to celebrate the foundation of the College, and the origins of the Week point to a joint undertaking by the College authorities, the students and the Old Students Association to demonstrate the reviving vigour of student life in the aftermath of the First World War. The 1920 Week consisted of a service in Chapel, an oration, a dinner, a dance, a reunion organised by the Old Students Association, a play and a students supper.

    Fruit and vegetable ammunitionFrom 1921 a regular challenge was issued to University College to do battle on the sports field, and this became the occasion for a tradition of inter-college rivalry involving the parading of mascots and the exchange of rotten fruit (Covent Garden, then a fruit and vegetable market, provided ammunition too tempting to be resisted by the Kings warriors).

    oratorsThe first-ever Kings Commemoration (or

    Foundation) Orator, in December 1920,

    was the author and poet g K Chesterton, of Father Brown fame.

    Subsequent speakers have considered

    matters academic and spiritual, philosophical

    and political, national and international. Many

    have been highly distinguished, including:

    C s Lewis authorClement attlee former Prime Minister Viscount Montgomery World War II Generalsir harold Wilson former Prime Ministerhrh the duke of edinburghgilbert Murray first President League of Nations

    andr Maurois authorJulian huxley first Director-General UNESCO

    The College mascot, Reggie the Lion, being carried onto the playing fields in 1935 for the Commemoration Games with University College London.

    Fougasse (Kings alumnus Kenneth Bird) designed the dancing Reggie version for a centenary edition of the Kings College Review

    The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu

    Kings gave me the opportunity to prove to myself and to the world that ability has nothing to do with such biological insignificances as skin colour. this confidence has stayed with me throughout my life

    without forgiveness there is no future, but without confession there can be no forgiveness

    Publication of Anniversary book

    Kings College London: In the service of society by Dr Christine Kenyon Jones traces the story of Kings and its constituent institutions

    through the many distinguished and larger-than-life individuals who have brought the College to prominence in the last 175 years. This heavily-illustrated 150-page book includes a foreword by the Princess Royal and striking pictures showing Kings in the past and as it is now. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Kings and associated institutions such as the medical and dental schools of Guys and St Thomas Hospitals, Chelsea and Queen Elizabeth Colleges, and the Institute of Psychiatry.

    the authorDr Christine Kenyon Jones is Writer in the Department of External Relations at Kings. She was Director of Public Relations for the College from 1991 to 1999. She completed her PhD at Kings in 1999 and has also taught in the Department of English.


    In the beginning: the early history of Kings College London

    this exhibition explained the early history of Kings College London and set it in its historical London context. The exhibition was

    on display from