How King’s celebrates the festive season

Festive Kings

Photo: @catnichonghaile

With preparations for the Christmas and New Year holidays already in full swing, we thought we’d take a look at some King’s past Christmases.

Christmas in 1914

King’s has never missed celebrating Christmas – and that continued through both World War One and World War Two. For instance, in December 1914 – the first Christmas of World War One – staff and students held a Union Society Debate on the motion to ban the sale of alcoholic drinks during the war. The King’s College Review for March 2015 records show that the motion was defeated by 32 votes to 23. So despite being at war, the ‘spirit’ was kept in Christmas at King’s that year.

Christmas gifts hidden in King’s Archives

King’s Archives has an example of a Christmas 1914 gift box given to British soldiers at the Western Front. For British soldiers fighting in France – who had expected the war to be over by Christmas 1914 – the brass tobacco tin, containing cigarettes, tobacco and a Christmas greetings card and photograph of Princess Mary would have been a welcome gift. Princess Mary was sister of Edward V111 and George V1 and was aunt to HM The Queen, who is Patron of King’s.

During World War Two, many students from King’s would probably have celebrated Christmas in Bristol – because many staff and students were temporarily evacuated to the city after bombs fell on the university’s buildings on the Strand in 1940. Post-war, the fun returned to festive frivolities at King’s – and even some of the more serious-minded researchers took a turn at faculty Christmas parties.

Christmas Maurice Wilkins

Courtesy of King's Archives

Here’s a photo of Nobel Prize-winner Professor Maurice Wilkins demonstrating the intricacies of DNA in a novel way – with lights on a Christmas tree. The picture was taken in 1962, the year the Nobel Prize was awarded for work leading to this vital discovery.

Festive sounds and King's historical buildings in the snow

Maughan Library

Crisp winter weather shows off King’s campuses at their very best and most atmospheric – the King’s Chapel and the Maughan Library, Somerset House and the Guy’s Chapel, to name but a few. 

Every year, church services are held at the King’s Chapel (Strand) and carol services take place on all the other King’s campuses, with mince pies and mulled wine to warm the hands and heart afterwards.

Somerset House and the Inigo Rooms

Still not in a Christmassy mood? Then you could take a stroll round the stunning square and ice rink at Somerset House, right next to King’s Strand campus.

King’s Inigo Rooms are located in Somerset House’s East Wing and often hold art exhibitions. The ice rink is open until 15 January 2017 so you can even skate your way into a ‘King’s’ 2017. And if skating’s not your thing, there are plenty of cafés and pop-ups where you can just chill and relax.

Somerset House

Whatever you’re doing, we’d like to wish you a happy holiday and all good things for 2017.

Where will you be spending the festive holiday?

If you’re spending Christmas somewhere unusual, let us know on Facebook or Twitter