Victorian London - Education - Universities - King's College

The King's College, Somerset House, was opened October 8th, 1831. The grand object of this institution is to secure to the rising generation in the metropolis and its vicinity the benefits of an economical, scientific, and religious course of education according to the doctrines of the established Church. It was founded by royal charter; and the ground on which it is erected was given by the government to the trustees, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and the Duke of Rutland. The building, a spacious and handsome edifice, designed by Sir R. Smirke, forms the entire eastern wing of Somerset House; its erection rendering complete the river-front of that previously unfinished magnificent structure. It comprises a public hall, a chapel, a library, and museum, ten lecture rooms, a house for the principal, and apartments for the professors. The college consists of two departments, for senior and junior students; and provides for the residence of some of them in the houses of the tutors. This college, a noble foundation, enjoys the most extensive patronage, including, in addition to the dignitaries of the church and great body of the clergy, that of the nobility and gentry; in a word, enlisted in its support will be found by much the larger portion of the rank, wealth, and respectability of the British empire.

Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

KING'S COLLEGE AND SCHOOL, Somerset House, extend from the principal entrance in the Strand to the east wing of the river-front, designed by Sir William Chambers, but left unfinished by him: its completion by the College being one of the conditions of the grant of the site : here resided the Principal and Professors. The College façade, designed by Sir Robert Smirke, R.A., is 304 feet in length, and consists of a centre, decorated with Corinthian columns and pilasters; and two wings with pilasters, upon a basement of piers supporting arches, which extend the whole length of the building. On the interior ground-floor are the theatres or lecture-rooms, and the hall, with two grand staircases, which ascend to the Museum and Library; the Chapel occupying the centre. Over the lofty entrance-arch in the Strand are the arms of the College: motto, "Sancte et sapienter." (See MUSEUMS.)

King's College and Schools are proprietary. The College was rounded in 1828, for the education of youth of the metropolis in the principles of the Established Church. There are five departments: 1. Theological- 2. General Literature; 3. Applied Sciences; 4. Medical; 5. The School. The age for admission to the latter is from 9 to 16; and each proprietor can nominate two pupils to time School, or one to the School and one to the College at the same time. The first Conference of Degrees by the University of London took place in the hall of King's College, May 1, 1850. In connexion with the Medical Schools has been established King's College Hospital, in Portugal-street, Lincoln's-Inn-fields.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867

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King’s College, Strand.— The educational work of the college is carried on in six distinct yet closely related departments, viz.: (1) The theological department, morning and evening classes (2) The department of general literature and science; (3)The department of engineering and applied sciences; (4) The medical department; (5) The work of the evening classes embraces classes of all kinds, corresponding to those in the regular departments; (6) Occasional students. Although by the creation of the above departments the studies are classified as a direction to the students, yet occasional students are admitted to any one or more classes without any restriction or qualification. Rooms are provided within the walls of the college for the residence of a limited number of matriculated students. The censor of the college lives within its walls, and to him is committed by the council the superintendence of all resident students. Students also may be received by leave of the council as boarders in certain private families. Full information about the college can be obtained from the separate prospectus of each department (one penny by post), from the Calendar (3s. by post), for which application should be made to the secretary. NEAREST Railway Station, Temple Omnibus Route, Strand; Cab Rank, Catherine-street.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879

Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - King's College

King's College - photograph


 An east wing was added to Somerset House by Sir Robert Smirke in 1829 to accommodate King's College, which had been founded by Royal charter in the previous year. The College extends from the Strand to the Thames Embankment, and entrance is gained both from the Embankment, up the steps seen in our view, and, through a low archway, from the Strand. The centre of the chief floor is occupied by the chapel, and the building also embraces King's College School, and a museum where Babbage's calculating machine is treasured. The Rev. Henry Wace, D.D., is the Principal of the College, and the education imparted is on Church of England lines. The institution enjoys only a small endowment, but it has usually received a Government grant.