The Great Hall is used for a variety of different events, such as careers fairs and guest lectures – we’ve hosted lots of famous speakers including prime ministers, the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and even Prince Harry.
You can see three statues in this entrance hall. The male is Sophocles (pronounced Soff-oh-clees), the ancient Greek tragic playwright, and the female is Sappho (pronounced Saff-oh), the ancient Greek poet who is famed for her love poems.
If you look to the stairs, you’ll see the mascot for King’s students – Reggie the Lion. King’s and nearby UCL have always had a friendly rivalry. Back in the 1920s, some UCL students criticised King’s rugby prowess, which prompted a group of students to kidnap the then UCL mascot, a statue of a Scottish soldier called Phineas (pronounced Fin-e-us). Of course, the UCL students weren’t too happy about this and decided to invade King’s to try and reclaim their beloved mascot. After an hour of combat and some police intervention, Phineas was eventually returned to UCL, minus an arm.
The King’s students realised they needed a mascot of their own. The lion statue was purchased for £7 from a nearby shop and was originally given the name Lucy, neglecting the fact that the lion was unquestionably male given its mane! Eventually, the name Reggie was settled upon. Naturally, Reggie has been kidnapped on many occasions throughout his life by students at UCL and even other universities too – in the 1940s, UCL students buried him in Hampstead Heath. Phineas received similar treatment a few years later when he was put on a train by King’s students and had to be recovered from the left luggage office at Newcastle Central station.
Reggie’s recent life has been a lot calmer, and he now stands guard in the entrance hall, probably a good thing for a lion nearly 100 years old.