City Alumni Network

King Carrot celebrates 100th birthday!

City News.

Message from Giulio FolinoGiulio Folino (Business Computing Systems), Students’ Union President:

It’s a great time to be President of the Students’ Union as this year as we mark the centenary of the Students’ Union mascot, King Carrot. 

To give you some background information to King Carrot, in the formative days of the Union, sports clubs travelled to and from the sports grounds at Palmers Green using a horse-drawn bus. Because of the frequent reluctance of the horse to cooperate, a carrot was often dangled in front of its nose. This became such a regular occurrence that the carrot found itself as mascot of the Union and was first called “His Most Noble Majesty, King Carrot”. Various versions of the carrot have existed, from fibreglass to cloth. Alarms were set up to alert students in case of Mascot Raids by other London Student Unions – everybody would rush out of lectures to save the carrot from its foes! Consequently, the Union mascot during the 1970s was made out of 4 tonnes of concrete attached by steel bands to a pillar in the bar, called reverently by the name of King Carrot VI.

The Carrot represents the lighter side of life at City. Sports, music, dancing and generally having a good time.”

To celebrate King Carrot’s 100th birthday, we recently held an informal event in the Saddlers’ Bar where all of the sabbatical officers wore full carrot outfits; lots of students also took part by wearing orange and necklaces made from Chantenay carrots.

It was a fun way for us to raise awareness of the Carrot to our new intake of students, and we feel we have already instilled a sense of pride in our university mascot.

We will be working with the Alumni Relations Team to organise an event for alumni too so watch this space for more information.

In the meantime, if you have any memories of the carrot you would like to share, please post your comments here or send your carrot photos to

8 Responses to King Carrot celebrates 100th birthday!

  1. Doreen Pechey (nee Pawley) says:

    I remember once when King Carrot was stolen, we had to ransom him back with blood. I think it was 100 pints. The National Blood Transfusion Service was used to sending confirmation to colleges saying that the ransom had been paid!

  2. Ann Norrie says:

    I also remember donating blood to get the carrot back, and the carrot awards – I still have my bronze and silver carrot pins. It would be interesting if there is a list of cattor award holders. If there was an official function and you came without your pin it would cost you a round of drinks

    Is there still a Presidents Ball and a May Ball at the hall of residence?

    • Jonathan Poolman says:

      I am not sure whether there are any of the old halls of residence any more. I was in Clerkenwell for a course at the end of August and passed by Notty Hall, which looked as though it had been turned over to the council and Finsbury and Heyworth Halls (as well as the Saddlers’ Sports Centre, I think) were being demolished. Where do City students live these days?

  3. John Rae says:

    Speaking of balls at halls of residence, who all can remember (with a smile) the Saturday night in 1967 when the fire alarms went off at the Bunhill Row halls and twice the number of “students” left the building than were actually in residence !!!

    • Chris Barnes says:

      I certainly do, it was a cold night and many were dressed in some pretty light gear! I also remember thinking “Keyo” (spelling) when the alarm woke me as he was notorious for pranks in that year. Still very proud of my Carrot Award.

  4. Posted on behald of Neil, 1951

    Mr S.C. Laws O.B.E. was principal of the Northampton Engineering College (Northampton Polytechnic) on Carrot Day, I think I recall correctly it was 1949 or 1950. A misguided group of miscreants manhandled and girl handled an open top MG TD sports car up the front steps from Saint John Street. I do not know who actually owned the vehicle. The car was positioned squarely in the foyer in a stategic position just in front of Mr Laws office. He had to go through the secretary’s office door to enter his own office. The male offenders were civil engineering and the two young ladies did eye testing and that sort of thing.

  5. Hello!

    Ann, we do still hold an annual Presidents Ball which is usually held at the Saddlers’ Bar, but we don’t hold a May Ball at the halls of residence however our VP Activities, Helen Jeyakumar will be arranging a Graduation Ball this year.

    Jonathan, City students live in a variety of different places now so it’s a bit more dispersed. There is Liberty Court, Liberty Hall and Willen House in Clerkenwell, as well as Alliance House in Stoke Newington. The University no longer own any of the buildings and we have entered into nomination agreements with private providers so things are very different these days!

  6. Dr Michael Bowern says:

    In September 1958 I started at Northampton College of Advanced Technology in the electrical engineering department. 61 years ago tomorrow (15 October 1958), as a Freshman I was initiated into the Union as an N’ION. This involved kissing King Carrot, at that stage a metre long metal carrot shaped model. I now live in Australia.

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