King's College London

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King's College London was founded in 1828 and located in a Grade-1 listed building in the Strand. King's College Hospital was established in nearby Portugal Street in 1839/40 and relocated to its present site in Denmark Hill prior to World War One. The College has since merged with Chelsea and Queen Elizabeth Colleges (1985) and Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital Medical Schools (completed 1998). The College is a major multi-faculty Higher Education institution with a world-wide profile.

Venue Type:

Library, Gallery

Opening hours

Monday - Friday 9.30-17.30

Admission charges


The Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives is a Designated Collection of national importance.

The archives contain papers of over 700 20th century senior defence personnel, authors and commentators, covering all wars, campaigns and peacekeeping initiatives in which British forces were engaged. The Centre also houses a growing collection of related microforms, chiefly of American official papers, and the personal library of Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart. This collection is of national and international significance to the study of the First and Second World Wars.

King's College London Archives holds the institutional records of the College (founded 1829) and related institutions such as King's College Hospital, Guy Hospital Medical School and St Thomas's Hospital Medical School. Holdings include minutes, correspondence, committee papers, the papers of scientific and other research projects, the private papers of senior staff, photographs and publications.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Sport, Social History, Science and Technology, Photography, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart
  • The Duke of Wellington
  • Dentistry history
  • Professor Jean Hanson
  • The student rag
  • DNA
  • History of education
  • Imperialism
  • Military history
  • Empire
  • History of medicine
  • Greek history
  • Rosalind Franklin
  • James Clerk Maxwell
  • Charles Wheatstone
  • Telegraph
  • War
  • Strand
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Bronze head of Apollo

The Classical Now

  • 2 March — 28 April 2018 *on now

The Classical Now, is a major exhibition exploring Greek and Roman antiquity in the modern artistic imagination

Presented by King’s College London in partnership with MACM (the award-winning Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins), the exhibition traces the ways in which Graeco-Roman art has captured and permeated the modern imagination. It examines classical presences in the works of twentieth-century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore and Yves Klein, and leading contemporary artists including Damien Hirst, Alex Israel, Louise Lawler, Grayson Perry, Marc Quinn and Rachel Whiteread. The show explores the myriad continuities and contrasts between the ancient, modern and contemporary, revealing the ‘classical’ as a living and fluid tradition.

The Classical Now is staged across two spaces at King’s College London, the Inigo Rooms in the East Wing of Somerset House, and the Arcade at Bush House – part of The King’s Cultural Quarter.

Exhibited works range from classical Greek and Roman artefacts (in bronze, marble and mosaic) to contemporary painting, sculpture, video and photography. The exhibition will feature contemporary works in which classical forms receive provocative new expression – such as the fragmentary bodies by contemporary artist Marc Quinn – alongside more oblique or suggestive uses of ancient themes, such as Bruce Nauman’s landmark video performance, Walk with Contrapposto (1968). Paris-based artist Léo Caillard, known for dressing classical statues in contemporary attire, has been commissioned to produce a new site-specific installation for the exhibition.

Alongside ancient Greek and Roman objects, The Classical Now exhibits work by Edward Allington, Pablo Bronstein, Léo Caillard, Jean Cocteau, Michael Craig-Martin, André Derain, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel, Derek Jarman, Yves Klein, Louise Lawler, Christopher Le Brun, Roy Lichtenstein, George Henry Longly, Ursula Mayer, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Giulio Paolini, Grayson Perry, Frances Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Marc Quinn, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Sacha Sosno, Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread. The show will also incorporate the video-installation, ‘Liquid Antiquity: Conversations’, featuring interviews with six contemporary artists (Matthew Barney, Paul Chan, Urs Fischer, Jeff Koons, Asad Raza and Kaari Upson) – commissioned by the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, and designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro.

The Classical Now forms part of a research project on ‘Modern Classicisms’, led by Michael Squire in King’s Department of Classics (part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities). The exhibition is curated by Michael Squire (Reader in Classical Art at King's), and James Cahill and Ruth Allen (post-doctoral fellows in ‘Modern Classicisms’ at King’s). Michael Squire says: ‘The exhibition is intended to prompt questions: about how ancient art still captivates and provokes the modern imagination; how contemporary visual culture might help us to see the classical tradition with new eyes; and about what modern-day responses – set against the backdrop of others over the last two millennia – can tell us about our own cultural preoccupations.’ Cahill and Allen add: ‘The exhibition is about what the classical means, or looks like, now; the idea is to show that there is no one “route” between antiquity and modernity, but instead multiple interconnections.’

Suitable for

  • Any age




Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.


AIM25 provides free online text access to collection level descriptions of archives within higher education institutions, cultural organisations, learned societies, livery companies and specialist archives in the London area (the area bound by the M25). Its descriptions span more than 130 partner institutions and total around 18,000 descriptions. AIM25 is aimed at academics, students and the general public and seeks to improve access and use of archives. It is ongoing and new and revised descriptions are always being added. A recent upgrade has added Web 2.0 features. Themes include the history of education, and of London, literature, science and technology, exploration, politics and biography.


  • Information Services and Systems, King's College London
  • Research Support Libraries Programme
  • University of London


  • King's College London Archives
Photo of DNA camera together with photo 51 revealing signature X structure of double helix

DNA: the King's Story

This lavishly illustrated online exhibition tells the story of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the DNA double helix at King's College in the 1950s. It includes a downloadable National Curriculum teaching and image pack exploring the life of Rosalind Franklin, one of the key players in the discovery, examines the ethics of science and the role of women in science. It also includes a number of streamed oral history interviews of family members and scientists who knew Franklin and her work which have been created with the help of Ursuline School for Girls, Ilford.


  • Geoff Browell
  • Ursuline School, Ilford
  • AV Department, King's College London
  • Jennifer DeWitt
  • King's College London Archives


  • King's College London Archives
Prize giving ceremony at King's College London circa 1840

In the beginning...

The early history of King's College London illustrated from archival images including its location on the Strand in London next to Somerset House, its construction and early college life.

Face and shoulders of young man in army uniform

Lest we forget

The War Memorials of King's College London, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals website celebrates the lives of the more than 700 students and staff from King's College and its partner institutions who were killed in twentieth century conflict - whether on distant foreign battlefields or on the home front.

Detailed biographies reveal a wealth of personal information and tales of gallantry and distinction. They serve as a permanent reminder of the selfless service to society enshrined in King's College's public ethos and of the personal sacrifices of its students and staff.

This website is the result of a year of research by a dedicated team from the University of the Third Age, led by Mrs Wendy Mott, drawing on original source material held by King's College London Archives including photographs and press cuttings, and on externally held records such as those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


  • King's College London Archives
  • Volunteers from the University of the Third Age


  • King's College London Archives

Lost in the Field of Blackbirds

King's College London Archives and Spectrum Drama have created a thirty minute play based on original interviews with participants in the wars in Yugoslavia during the 1990s, which are held in the Liddell Hart Centre at King's College. The play was performed at venues throughout London in 2008 and attracted audiences of all ages and backgrounds including school pupils and refugees from the conflicts. The play was recorded and a podcast is available for download together with a National Curriculum-themed schools pack.


  • King's College London Archives
  • Geoff Browell
  • Spectrum Drama


  • King's College London Archives
Navigating Nightingale

Navigating Nightingale

Navigating Nightingale is an iPhone app that traces the career of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale and explores her life in Victorian London through the use of interactive maps, cartoons and rich archive content drawn from collections held by AIM25 and other London archives. The app has been created by King's College London Archives and School of Nursing, and Centre Screen Productions. This is the first iPhone app in the Medical Milestones series.


  • King's College London Archives, King's School of Nursing, Centre Screen Productions

How to obtain

Via the app store.

World War One

Serving Soldier

Serving Soldier is a website that provides access to thousands of unique images and documents drawn from the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's College London. Content includes photographs, videos and correspondence. The selection explores the lives of servicemen and their families from the late 19th century until the Second World War, while themes include war and peace, exploration, invention and education. New content is being added regularly.


  • King's College London Archives


  • King's College London

How to obtain

Free digitised content online.

Brass tobacco tin, pack of tobacco and pack of cigarettes from 1914

The Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives turns 50

To mark the Centre’s 50th birthday we are presenting a selection of 50 items relating to World War One that reflect the richness of our collections.

These have been chosen by staff because they are important, poignant, amusing, thought-provoking, arresting or strange.


  • King's College London Archives

How to obtain

This resource can be accessed online

King's College London


King's College London Archives and Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives


King's College London Archives and Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives



King's College London Archives and Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives

020 ​7848 ​2015

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.