Fellows of King's
The proposal to establish a fellowship of King’s was first considered by the Council of King’s in 1847, and the Revd John Allen, a former chaplain of the College, was the first fellow of King’s. Initially the Council decreed that each fellow should pay two guineas for the privilege – although the exaction of the fee soon ceased (from 1850).
From the beginning, a wide variety of people were elected as College fellows. Among those elected between 1847 and 1863 were Alfred Barry (Principal of King’s 1868-83); James Edwin Thorold Rogers (former King’s student, Professor of Economics at King’s, later Liberal MP for Southwark and Bermondsey); John Simon (later Sir John, Professor of Surgery at King’s, first Medical Officer of Health for the City of London); the Hon Edward Stanley (later Earl of Derby, Foreign Secretary under Disraeli); William Stebbing (for nearly 30 years Assistant Editor and Leader Writer of The Times); Robert Bentley Todd (founder of King’s College Hospital); Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes, army and political officer in India; William Burges (architect and designer who oversaw the Great Exhibition of 1851) and Robert Swinhoe, diplomat and ornithologist.
Among the first women fellows (1904) was Lilian Faithfull who was Vice-Principal of the Ladies’ Department of King’s 1894-1906 and then Principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College until 1922, and also one of the country’s first women JPs.
The varied backgrounds and achievements of the early fellows established a precedent for the range of distinctions which have been recognised by the fellowship and honorary fellowship more recently. The list of recent fellows includes Nobel Prize-winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir James Black and Professor Maurice Wilkins; drama directors Lord Attenborough and Sir Richard Eyre; writers Mario Vargas Llosa, Sir Arthur C Clarke, Michael Morpurgo, Hugh Whitemore, Anita Brookner, Susan Howatch and Susan Hill; military historians Sir Michael Howard and Sir Max Hastings; composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle; conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner; the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks; satirist and King’s alumnus Rory Bremner; former Chief of the Defence Staff General Lord Guthrie; banker Baron David de Rothschild; designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi, Vice-Chairman of the College Council since 2003; founder of MORI Sir Robert Worcester and diplomat Sir Jeremy Greenstock.
Fellows and Honorary Fellows of the College