Notable alumni: Virginia Woolf

Rosalind Franklin

Writer

Writer and feminist icon Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), born Adeline Virginia Stephen, was a student at the King’s College London Ladies’ Department from 1897–1902. She took classes in Greek, Latin, German and history alongside her sister Vanessa Bell, who became a well-known artist.

Virginia was a pioneering novelist whose most famous works include Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando and her seminal essay on women and fiction A Room of One’s Own.

She was a key figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group and, alongside her husband Leonard, started the publishing house Hogarth Press, initially operating with a hand press out of the couple’s dining room.

Woolf is commemorated at King’s by the building named in her honour at the Strand Campus, and by a waxwork specially commissioned from artist Eleanor Cook.

Did you know: Long before they became fashionable, Virginia designed her own standing desk so, like a painter, she could step away from her work and examine it from a distance.