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  Item Reference: KCLCAL-1985-1986-9

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8 THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The Foundation of King's College London In February 1825 when Thomas Campbell first wrote to The Times on the question of founding University in London he was principally known to his contemporaries as the author of The Pleasures of Hope On the matter of the University he demonstrated that his hope took the very pragmatic form of providing broad practical and economical education for the youth of the middle classes who he suggested should live at home where their moral and spiritual welfare would continue to be overseen by their parents and their chosen religious leaders As metropolitan counterblast to the exclusivity of Oxford and Cambridge Campbell rallied wide support from those who saw the advantages of widening the syllabus and encouraging learning by experiment and demonstration from those barred from higher education by the Test Act from those families who could not afford to send their children to Oxford and Cambridge and from those including leading Anglicans of the day who thought the proper place for religious education was within the community In the event it was the very question of religion which divided his group the extremes being represented on one side by the philosophical radicals who thought the syllabus should include no religious education and on the other by significant group of Anglicans who believed that if there were to be such education it should be in accord with teaching of the established church Those who supported the idea of parallel chairs of religious education to represent the various sects were eventually forced to choose between the two In 1826 the London University was founded in Gower Street without the support of significant number of Anglicans but because of widespread and well-publicised opposition to its secularism it was not empowered to confer degrees nor granted charter until 1836 when it became known as University College London In October 1826 preaching at Cambridge Hugh James Rose later to be the second Principal of King's College and founding figure of the Oxford Movement opined that an over emphasis on the utilitarian aspects of education led to the neglect of studies needful for the development of the moral and intellectual spiritual and eternal being' this sermon provided the focus which the critics of the new University required and by 1827 it was rumoured that leading clerics were seeking to found second institution In practice it was Dr George D'Oyly Rector of Lambeth and friend of both Rose and the then Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Manners Sutton who emerged as the leader of this group He it was who addressed an open letter to Sir Robert Peel on the subject of the University in which he skilfully blended Campbell and Rose's arguments and he it was who boldly hinted at the prospective royal patronage of the scholar king King George IV Peel in turn with Manners Sutton persuaded the then Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington to put his support behind the new college On 21 June 1828 Wellington chaired the inaugural meeting for King's College in Freemasons' Hall He shared the platform with three Archbishops seven bishops and several members of the nobility From the floor of the meeting Peel and Lord Aberdeen pledged substantial subscriptions and these were followed by many other
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