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19 September 2023

The UK's oldest students' union turns 150

King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

Brochures to celebrate KCLSU 150th birthday

Commemorating its legacy as the oldest students’ union in the UK, KCLSU is this week marking its 150th anniversary.

Founded in December 1873 when students at King’s were given their own common room to foster a sense of student community, the organisation was first known as the Union Society of King’s College London.

As it became more popular with King’s students, and as membership expanded, the organisation was later rebranded in 1908 as KCLSU.

The KCLSU’s 150th birthday symbols a significant milestone for the Union, which has paved the way in how many other students’ unions engage with their members.

KCLSU Chief Executive, Denis Shukur said: “The KCLSU 150-year legacy has come a long way since its inception of just one common room at King’s. Each year we deliver more than 300 student events and activities, provide quality food and beverage venues, activity spaces, student campaigns, and wellbeing and advice services to thousands of students across all four campuses."

I’m very proud of how far we’ve come with students having exceptional facilities including a professional media suite and student event spaces at both Strand and Guy’s. KCLSU continues to lead a vibrant, fulfilling and inclusive Students’ Union.

Denis Shukur, KCLSU Chief Executive

As well as offering academic advice and wellbeing support, KCLSU connects its members to a wide range of student-led groups, ranging from budding media enterprises, political and historical interest societies to sports and music clubs.

Supporting some 50,000 King’s students, the Union has more than 400 student groups including societies, over 70 sports clubs and a student media enterprise, which includes award-winning student publication of the year, Roar Media.

KCLSU facilities include student wellbeing support and confidential advice spaces, a photography and filming studio, radio and podcast studio, meeting rooms, event spaces for student-led yoga and dance classes in addition to social spaces across King’s Strand, Guy’s, Denmark Hill and Waterloo sites. KCLSU venues have even seen the likes of Taylor Swift and Foo Fighters perform in the early days of their careers!

The Union leads flagship events throughout the year including a Welcome Fair as part of Welcome Week and Varsity, a historic sports competition held between King’s and University College London, amongst other student engagement events across the academic year.

We wish KCLSU a very happy 150th birthday and send our warmest congratulations on this huge achievement. Over the last 150 years the Students’ Union has played a valuable role in supporting students and building a community at King’s which we are all proud to be a part of. We look forward to continuing to work closely with KCLSU and celebrating many more birthdays in future!

Professor Adam Fagan, Vice President (Education & Student Success) at King’s College London

A special 150th birthday party was held this week to mark the anniversary for KCLSU, featuring musical performances from student groups and a historic exhibition documenting the evolution of KCLSU, as well as a visit from King’s 100-year-old centurion mascot Reggie.

150 Cake and Balloons
Mascot and Cake (2)

Find out more about KCLSU’s history here.

In this story

Adam Fagan

Vice President (Education & Student Success)

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