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

Funding the College

Fist page of the list of Donots and Shareholders for King's College London from 21 June 1828 written out in pen with elegant penmanshipFirst page of List of Donors and Shareholders, 1828The cost of building and equipping the College was raised through donations and the issue of shares.

Local committees, often chaired by prominent clergy, were established around the country to help raise the estimated £170,000 required to complete the project. By May 1829, £126, 974 3s 6d had been collected or promised in the form of £54,074 3s 6d in donations and subscriptions of 729 £100 shares.

Shareholders, as proprietors, enjoyed various benefits including a voice in the decisions of the Corporation, rights of nomination, a reduced rate of fees and, in the case of contractors, preferential treatment in tendering for College business such as remedial building work and the supply of stationery.

Typical shareholders and donors comprised men involved in the foundation of the College including the ecclesiastical hierarchy, noblemen such as the Duke of Wellington, wealthier representatives of the clergy, Members of Parliament and rising figures in the new middle classes.

==insert description of image=A page under 'W' of the above list of Donors and ShareholdersDonors of £100 or more ('Donors of the first class') and those of at least £50 ('Donors of the second class') also enjoyed benefits of nomination. Except for small donations, subscriptions were usually received in a series of instalments.

Not all the money pledged was forthcoming and the College authorities expended considerable energy in the early years seeking to collect these arrears, usually with little success. The Winchilsea dispute furthermore caused over 150 shareholders or donors to cancel their existing pledges.

By 1851, over £11,000 of originally subscribed capital remained uncollected, contributing to the fragile financial position of an institution without significant endowment and dependent upon income from student fees. King's shareholders never received dividends from their investment and during the 1840s many began converting their shares into donations.

The King's College London Act of 1882, which amended the charter of 1829, completed this process by cancelling and converting any residual shareholdings.

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