The changing faces of societies at King's

Here at King’s, our students have always strived to shape the world around them through varied and eclectic societies. From Nobel Prize winners to famous illustrators, from sportsmen of the past to young people pursuing social justice; student societies have always reflected the true spirit of life at King’s. In this short article we explore the journeys some of the university’s best known societies have taken over the years.

Student life has changed since King’s oldest society was founded in 1847, and societies have changed along with it. Today, student societies showcase the best of the King’s community in all its diversity, but still retain the same spirit of friendship and inclusion upon which they were founded.

Engineering Society

Then

Cyril Kenneth Bird

Founded in 1847, the King’s College London Engineering Society (KCLES) is the oldest collegiate society of its kind in the world. Former presidents include Cyril Kenneth Bird CBE, better known as the Punch magazine cartoonist Fougasse, famous for his Second World War drawings.

Now

Annie Heijna

Engineering Society

KCLES is today headed by its first female President, Annie Heijna, who also redesigned the logo to bring the society into the modern day.

Maxwell Society (Physics)

Then

Maxwell Society Then

The Physics Society was established in 1935 by Sir Edward Appleton, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1947 for his experiments in the interaction of radio waves with the earth’s atmosphere, conducted at King’s.

Now

Maxwell Society

The Maxwell Society carries on in the spirit of Professor Appleton, hosting lectures and enriching knowledge. Its members do look a little different than they did in 1935, with a diverse range of members who don’t always dress quite as formally as they used to!

GKT Rugby

Then

GKT Rugby

Guy’s Hospital Rugby Football Club is recognised as the oldest rugby club in the world, being founded in 1843.

Now

GKT Women's Rugby

GKT Rugby boasts a big membership, and is bolstered by the excellent women’s team. The team reflects the crucial contributions of women not only to sport, but to medicine as well.


To this day our students continue to work to change the world around them, and societies continue to reflect the ambition and drive of their members to bring positive change to the world.

King's Think Tank

The King’s Think Tank for example, is the largest student-led think tank in Europe and London’s first student-led policy institute. King’s Think Tank publishes its own magazine, The Spectrum, and hosts events on issues such as the gender pay gap.

And in response to London’s growing homeless community, members of the Hot Chocolate Society run outreach sessions for homeless people around King’s campuses. They also host fundraising events, such as the alternative tour of London run by Unseen Tours, a social enterprise that employs homeless or ex-homeless guides who lead groups on explorations of different perspectives on gentrification, and hidden spots of London.


Were you a member of a society during your time at King’s? Share some of your lasting memories with us, using #ForeverKings

See more stories from this Spring’s InTouch magazine here.