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The famous King’s College London alumni you had no idea were once fellow students

It may be time for Kings to rename a couple of their buildings…


It’s no secret KCL are incredibly proud to boast their extensive list of successful alumni. Whether it’s for the benefit of King’s students or for London’s general public to make note of, the endless red poster boards nailed to the sides of campus buildings are inescapable. Who knows, one day in the future you may be lucky enough to have your own board, or better yet a whole building named after you… huge respect to Virginia Woolf.

Whilst not every ‘famous’ alumnus gains equal recognition, (perhaps due to some fairly problematic chosen life paths), there are a fair few that you may have had no idea had attended Kings (I certainly didn’t know). Maybe, it’s your usual position around campus? Or perhaps King’s just haven’t promoted these characters quite as much as the likes of Florence Nightingale? Either way, here are some famous alumni you had no idea were too once fellow Kings students.

Thomas Hardy

No, not Venom! A different hero – a hero of English literature. How it is not common knowledge that THE Thomas Hardy was a King’s student is beyond me?

Hardy completed a modern languages course through evening classes at the university during the 1860s preceding the writing of his arguably most famous novels, ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, and ‘Jude the Obscure’. Perhaps without his commitment to education we never would have received such renowned literature from the man.

While everyone is a fan of the female empowerment that comes with Virginia Woolf getting her own building, I think a little more recognition for Hardy may be due here. Even a lecture theatre if not a whole building.

Tom Rosenthal

via YouTube

No, not the singer… sorry music students, but equally as noteworthy. Perhaps even a testament to the humour Kings College can breed in a student (probably not though).

Star of the hilarious series’ Friday Night Dinner, and Plebs, Rosenthal attended the university as a philosophy student before graduating in 2009. It is here he believes he was encouraged to develop his love of acting through KCL’s support of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an event he quotes enabled him to participate in “professional experiences preparing me for a career performing low-quality material to small, uninterested audiences.”

Star of the hilarious series’ Friday Night Dinner, and Plebs, Rosenthal attended the university as a philosophy student before graduating in 2009. It is here he believes he was encouraged to develop his love of acting through KCL’s support of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an event he quotes enabled him to participate in “professional experiences preparing me for a career performing low-quality material to small, uninterested audiences.”

With exam season approaching some of you may be feeling Under Pressure. Well each year Another One Bites Dust, and the students are left screaming “I Want To Break Free”. Most of these famous ex-students have all invariably felt the same during their exam seasons.

One of these is John Deacon, bassist for the world-renowned rock-band Queen. Before writing some of the greatest songs of all time, Deacon studied Electronic Engineering at Chelsea College (a sub-section of the University of London that eventually merged with King’s in 1985.)

Deacon is truly a royal as part of both King’s and Queen.

Lisa Brennan Jobs

That surname rings a bell doesn’t it? While less well known than her father, Lisa Brennan Jobs is Steve Jobs’ formerly estranged daughter. An absolute credit to the English department. Lisa is a Harvard alumnus who undertook a study abroad year at Kings. She has since gone on to write for Vogue, O The Oprah Magazine, and Spiked.

Lisa was a recognised writer for her student newspapers including The Harvard Crimson, demonstrating her early devotion and passion for writing. It’s a shame she never wrote for The King’s Tab.

Walter Owen Bentley MBE

Founder of Bentley Motors Limited, Walter Owen Bentley was a designer of both aircraft and automobile engines. He further made a name for himself amongst his many victories as a driver for 24 hours of Le Mans.

It is no secret Walter Owen Bentley was a man of extreme talent, yet arguably a much lesser acknowledged alumnus of KCL. His period of study in theoretical engineering at the university was brief but not at all one to be discounted.

Tony Gardner

via YouTube

While he was the infamous English professor Tony Shales at Medlock University in Fresh Meat, Gardner had a rather different career lined up for him when he graduated.

Gardner graduated from Guy’s Hospital in 1987, qualifying as a physician and then a general practitioner six years later. It didn’t take him long to break into comedy as he formed a comedy duo with Phill Hammond in 1993 to give us the award winning show, Struck Off and Die, before going on to be a very familiar face from childhood: the dad from My Parents Are Aliens.