King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
In the Beginning ...

The College Charter

Photograph of King's College charter rolled and tied with scarlet ribbons in its document case to protect it from damage, there is a circular projection to the cases; to protect the seal and above that, inside the lid, is an engraved image of King George the fourthKing's College Charter 1829The Provisional Committee of King's successfully lobbied for the College to be granted a charter by the Government, which was sealed on 14 August 1829.

The charter conferred upon the College the status of a self-governing public corporation with a legal personality and established an administrative framework.

This comprised a set of governors: nine perpetual officials appointed automatically on account of their offices including the Archbishop of York, Bishop of London and Lord Mayor of London and the Home Secretary, and eight Life Governors chosen from the ranks of a Corporation.

The Corporation was made up of the perpetual governors and the shareholders and larger donors who together were described as proprietors. The Corporation met annually in a General Court although in practice few shareholders exercised their right of attendance.

The governing body of the College was, and remains to this day, the Council. This was originally made up of seventeen governors, twenty-four members of the Corporation and a treasurer. The Council retained the power to appoint and dismiss the Principal and academic and administrative staff.

Reflecting its Anglican roots, the present and future Archbishops of Canterbury were awarded oversight of the College by their appointment as its visitor.

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