King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Duke of Wellington

The Founding of the College

River viewRiver viewThe Duke of Wellington was intimately involved in the foundation of King's College in 1828 and in securing its new home in the Strand.

In attracting the patronage of the then Prime Minister, the supporters of the College had undoubtedly staged something of a publicity coup that made the work of attracting subscribers much easier.

The Duke was a strongly conservative man who ascribed his many battlefield victories to the providential intervention of God.

He was also a pragmatic, no-nonsense man and he approved of practical and vocational education.

It was unsurprising, then, that in particular two characteristics of the new College attracted his support: its avowedly Anglican ethos and its intention to provide 'specific preparation for particular professions'.

King's was set up as an Anglican alternative to the largely secular 'London University', which later was renamed University College - the 'godless place in Gower Street'.

Supported by many of the leading figures in Church and State, the driving forces behind the establishment of King's were Hugh James Rose, one of the founders of the Oxford Movement and later the second Principal of the College, and George D'Oyly, the Rector of Lambeth.

It was D'Oyly, who, in an open letter to the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, advocated the opening of a second university in London supplying a comprehensive and modern system of education imbued with a demonstrably Christian ethos.

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