Former Provost writes history of King's

Front cover of Our College Story

Former Provost, Professor Ross Harrison, has written a new short history of King’s. The book, Our College Story: A short history of the King’s College of St Nicholas and Our Lady in Cambridge, chronicles King’s story, from the magnificent plans of King Henry VI to the present day.

Written in a lively and often humorous style, the book has eight illustrated plates, showing plans, personalities and the famous buildings.

Old Provost's Lodge
Old Provost’s Lodge. (Taken from: R Willis, J Clark, The Architectural History of the University of Cambridge (1886), I, p. 548.) Larger image

The story begins with the first royal foundation in either Oxford or Cambridge. It depicts King’s peculiar status in having maintained links with Eton College and having asserted independence from the University of Cambridge until reforms in the late 19th century.

Today King’s is well known for its iconic Chapel and broadcasts of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas. The history of the Chapel and its services plays a significant role in Our College Story.

Tess Adkins
Tess Adkins, Fellow 1972-. (College Archives: Coll Ph 217. Photo by Edward Leigh.)

The people of King’s too play a significant role. John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, Alan Turing and Zadie Smith are all strongly attached to King’s and its history. The book describes how King’s came to identify itself in the 20th century with free-thinking, an innovative Research Centre and informal and close relationships between dons and students.

There are seven chapters to the short history: The King’s King’s, The Kings’ Chapel, Royal Reformations, Uncivil Wars, Old Corruption, The New King’s and Story’s End. The book can be purchased from The Shop at King's for £7.50 plus postage and packing.

9 November 2015