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Our College Story by Ross Harrison



 
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This new short history of King’s College tells its story from the magnificent plans formed by King Henry VI, which began to take shape in 1441, to the present day.

It is the story of the first royal foundation in Oxford or Cambridge, a college which kept its peculiar status by asserting its links with Eton College and its independence of the University of Cambridge until the reforms of the late 19th century.

Today the College is best known in the wider world through its broadcast Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas, and its iconic Chapel. The history of the Chapel and its services plays a significant role in Our College Story.

But it is also the college of John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, Alan Turing and Zadie Smith, all of whom were strongly attached to King’s and its history. And King’s came in the 20th century to identify itself with free-thinking, an innovative Research Centre, and an informal and close relationship between dons and students.

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

There are seven chapters:

The King’s King’s

The Kings’ Chapel

Royal Reformations

Uncivil Wars

Old Corruption

The New King’s

Story’s End


Average Rating: 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 1 Write a review »

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A model account. November 16, 2015
Reviewer: Geoffrey Plow from Pinner, Middx United Kingdom  
You could use 'Our College Story' as a tourist guide. It is a model of concision; you see the buildings in a completely new light. Characteristics which one used to see as of recent evolution are explained as dating back further - such as the notion of admitting students because they were 'interesting people', which is identified as part of Patrick Wilkinson's strategy in the 1940s and 1950s. Equally, other practices apparently encrusted since the dawn of time (such as supervisions) are revealed to date back to as recently as the nineteenth century. So the book is genuinely revealing. I would have liked to have read more about Keynes: we hear that he affected the college hugely (he is said to have been more influential as Bursar than the Provost under whom he served) but we don't find out quite how and why. But that's a quibble: such detail is hardly to be expected from a serviceable guide that will not just be read but used practically when Kingsmen are out and about.

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