Jan 5 2021

In memory of Basil Selig Yamey (1919-2020)

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Basil Selig Yamey

Basil Selig Yamey was born in Cape Town (South Africa) on 4 May 1919. He studied at the University of Cape Town, where he graduated in December 1938 with a B. Com. degree with distinction. One of his teachers, William Baxter, the Professor of Accounting at the University of Cape Town, had LSE connections and encouraged Basil to further his studies there. In March 1939, he registered as a Ph.D. student at LSE with a thesis entitled ‘Shareholders, Accounting, and the Law’, to be supervised by Arnold Plant. In May 1940, his studies, because of the war, were suspended, and he worked under Arnold Plant at the Ministry of Information.

Basil returned to South Africa at the end of 1940 and was appointed Lecturer in Commerce at Rhodes University College, Grahamstown. He enlisted in the South African Air Force (SAAF) at the end of 1941 and worked in the Statistical Section of Air Headquarters. Basil left the SAAF in February 1945 and returned to teaching at Rhodes University College, but moved to the University of Cape Town in July 1946, where he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Commerce.

In 1947, Baxter returned to LSE to become Professor  of Accounting, the first such post in Britain, and he encouraged Basil to return to LSE. So in 1947 Basil applied for the post of Reader in Commerce at the LSE, but accepted the position of Lecturer in Commerce, with the understanding that he would be considered for a Readership in Commerce when that post was created.

He joined the staff at LSE in December 1947, but stayed only one year, resigning  in December 1948, to become an Associate Professor of Marketing in the School of Commerce at McGill University, Montreal. In March 1950, the LSE Director wrote to Basil to see if he was interested in returning to LSE to a Readership in Economics (with Special Reference to Distribution). The offer was accepted the offer and Basil returned to LSE as a Reader in Economics from 1st October 1950. In June 1956, Richard Sayers, the Editor of journal Economica, wrote to Basil to invite him to become Assistant Editor of the journal. Thus began a long association with the journal, where he was the Editor from 1960 to 1974.

In January 1960, Basil Yamey became Professor of Economics at LSE and he taught there until he retired in 1984, when he continued his association with the School as Emeritus Professor.

In 1948 Basil married twenty-year-old Helen Bloch in Cape Town. They had a son, Robert Adam in 1952, and a daughter, Jill Alison in 1956. After she came to London, Helen attended the St Martin’s School of Art, where she studied sculpture. She died in 1980. Basil married Demetra Geogakopoulou in 1991.

In his research, Basil was interested in the history of accounting and spent much time researching the historical  development of accounting in Italy. For example, on the basis of his detailed analysis of historical accounting records (Yamey 1949), he criticised the theory put forward by Werner Sombart (Sombart 1924)  that the double-entry bookkeeping (DEB) system was a precondition, or at least an important stimulating factor, for the emergence of modern capitalism. Yamey’s research suggested that while teaching manuals over many years had preached the benefits of the DEB system, many firms still continued to use the older single-entry as modern capitalists. His work was important in encouraging other researchers to explore this area of economics.

Basil’s research led him to oppose monopolies and his criticisms of the operation of Retail Price Maintenance influenced opinion towards ending its operation in 1964. He was appointed to the Cinematograph Film Council in 1960 and served as a part-time member of the of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission 1966 to 1978. His interest in the free operation of markets led to his involvement in the Institute of Economic Affairs, where he was a member of the Advisory Council from 1962 to 1984. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1977.

Book cover: Art & AccountingBasil loved art and served as a Trustee of the National Gallery from 1974 to 1981 and a Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1978 to 1981. He combined this love of art with his research into the history of accounting when, in 1989, he published Art and Accounting, a book that reproduced over 100 images of bookkeepers at work from several centuries of European art.

In 2019, twenty-eight of Basil’s colleagues, former students and his long-time LSE secretary took the opportunity to express the admiration and respect they had for him as a person and for his achievements by contributing to a book that was published to celebrate his centenary, entitled Basil Yamey at the LSE:A Birthday Tribute. From among his colleagues there were many tributes to his approachability and help when they were newly arrived in the Economics Department, of his open-mindedness and fairness in his advice. His help as a mentor to junior members of the Department was warmly appreciated by them as was patience and support. His research in Italy led to contacts with Italian universities and there were a number of Italian contributors, including Romano Prodi, who had come to LSE as research students and reported on how well he had looked after them. His former secretary recorded that he was a delight to  work for and that his enthusiasm for his research into early Italian accounting had led to her development of a love of Italian art.

Outside of the Economics Department, Basil played his part in the functioning of the School: he was Vice-Chairman of the Appointments Committee for three years, a member of the Standing Committee for three years and a member of the Committee on Administrative and Library Staff. He was Convenor of the Economics Department from 1966 to 1969.  Ralf Dahrendorf paid tribute to his role by noting that he was “one of those on the academic side who for one reason or another commanded respect at the School … had a commitment to the School and a way of getting on with all groups”. (Dahrendorf, 1995, p. 488).

Basil died on 19 November 2020.

Jim Thomas

(Emeritus Reader in Economics and Research Associate, STICERD, LSE)



Dahrendorf, R. (1995) A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 1895—1995, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

London School of Economics (2019) Basil Yamey at the LSE: A Birthday Tribute, (London: London School of Economics).

Sombart, W. (1924) Der Moderne Kapitalismus, (Munich).

Yamey, B.S. (1949) ‘Scientific Bookkeeping and the Rise of Capitalism’, Economic History Review, Vol.1, No. 2/3, 99-113.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

Dec 23 2020

In memory of Professor Sir John Hills


Professor_John_HillsIt is with great sadness that the School announces the death of our esteemed colleague Professor Sir John Hills. John was Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE and the Chair of CASE (the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion). A brilliant scholar, a generous colleague and mentor, and a kind and modest man, he made tremendous contributions to social science and his work has had a major impact on social policy, especially in relation to poverty and inequality.

A full tribute to John will be shared in the coming days. Friends, colleagues and students can leave their memories and thoughts below.

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Nov 18 2020

In memory of David Goldstone CBE


It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of David Goldstone CBE (LLB 1952) on 21 October 2020.

David was passionate about LSE and was made an Honorary Fellow in 1995 in recognition of his devoted service to the School – which included founding the Emeritus Governors.

A proud Welshman from humble beginnings, David left home for the first time in 1949 to undertake his Law degree at LSE. As a student he lived in Passfield Hall, and it was this lived student experience, and later his successful career in property development that facilitated the School setting up further halls of residence. David continued his relationship with the School throughout his lifetime, serving as a governor and supporting the School philanthropically. He found great enjoyment in his later years engaged in the work of the Law department, where he went on to support the student Mooting Programme, which sees students engage in competitive legal arguments in front of a mock court.

In 2018 David was interviewed for Ratio (page 52) where he gives a lovely account of his journey through life with LSE.

David will be missed.

Keith Mackrell
LSE Emeritus Governor

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Oct 8 2020

In memory of Peter Anastasi


It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of our friend and colleague Peter Anastasi. Peter was a member of the LSE security team for 16 years. He joined the LSE from Exxon Mobil, and became known to all as the ever-present and unfailingly helpful custodian of ‘the Towers’.

Peter had a varied career and brought great experience, and a wealth of human kindness to his work. Originally from Cyprus, Peter had worked in commerce and international shipping before taking up roles in security. He maintained a strong connection to his home country and was a dedicated Spurs fan, never  failing to remind colleagues of his team’s notable victories. Peter was an entertaining raconteur at social events, with a huge repertoire of stories and anecdotes, and a patient listener to the experiences of others.

Peter was known to all for his dedication, politeness and desire to help. Over the years of Peter’s service he developed strong relationships with many of those working in the Towers. He became the ‘go-to’ person on a range of issues that went well beyond security. Peter’s compassion and desire to help manifested in every part of his life. He was a firm friend and a staunch supporter of colleagues. He counselled and advised a cohort of fellow workers, providing professional advice, helping with personal issues and even dedicated his time to teaching colleagues English.  On the basis of Peter’s support  a generation of LSE security and reception staff were able to move on to greater things, both within the School and beyond.

Peter was a man of great warmth, unbounded humanity and profound gentility. He died while still in service to a School he loved, and leaves behind a loving wife, a daughter and two sons.

We will miss him deeply.

His family have requested that donations are made in lieu of flowers to The North London Hospice (Click to donate in memory of and enter his name).

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

Oct 7 2020

In memory of Claudette Small


Smiling picture of friend and colleague, Claudette SmallIt is with great sadness to report the passing of our dear friend and colleague Claudette Small.

Claudette joined the Catering Department as Accounts Manager in July 1999, for a brief time went to work in the Finance Division and then returned to work in the Catering Department as the Catering and Finance Office Manager where she was welcomed with open arms.

Claudette was well known to many in Residences and Catering Division, the Finance Division and Security and Estates teams as well as across the wider school.

She had a hugely positive outlook and was a wonderful and spirited colleague. She’ll be fondly remembered for her wicked sense of humour, strong sense of loyalty and determination – she was always there for a chat on any subject.

Claudette enjoyed to travel with her friends at home and abroad and loved working with the girls at the church girls brigade, she was so proud of all her girls. When time allowed she was also a passionate drummer who enjoyed practicing and was learning all the time.

Claudette was an integral part of our catering family, dedicated, loyal and always there to listen to others problems and triumphs, we are privileged to have known her. She will be deeply missed by all she worked with at LSE.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

Sep 3 2020

Professor David Graeber

Professor David Graeber- LSE

Professor David Graeber

We are shocked and saddened to learn of David Graeber’s death. David was a hugely influential anthropologist, political activist and public intellectual. He was a person with so many facets that it is only by opening up this space to a community of remembrance that we can engage with his legacy.

His brilliant work ranged from studies of Madagascan funerary practices, magic, bureaucracy, financialisation to kings, puppets and pirates. Each conversation with him, and reading of his work, took us on a new path. Striking against learned ignorance everywhere he criticised the banal cruelty of debt, bullshit jobs and the devaluation of our humanity. We also remember him as full of humour and quizzical challenge, encouraging us to take risks and think differently. For us all, perhaps, he was what an anthropologist should be—a messenger of other possibilities.

Professor Laura Bear
Head of Department, LSE Anthropology


LSE Anthropology are holding an open space commemoration for David on Wednesday 16th September from 4:30-5:30 via Zoom.

Please sign up on Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/commemoration-david-graeber-tickets-120219751513 

Posted by: Posted on by O'Connor,D

Aug 3 2020

In memory of Lady Elizabeth Vallance


It is with great sadness that LSE learnt of the passing of Lady Elizabeth Vallance, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Elizabeth started her LSE career as a student (MSc Government, 1968). She contributed so much to the School as a longstanding member of Court, also serving on the Chair and Vice Chair Selection Committee, Health and Safety Assurance Committee and, most recently, the Governance Committee. Elizabeth was an admired and trusted advisor to many around the School.

She was also a highly respected leader throughout her career, including as a successful academic and subsequently head of the politics department at Queen Mary, University of London. This is in addition to chairing many non-profit health and educational organisation boards including the Institute of Education, St George’s NHS Trust,  the Centre for Mental Health and the National Autism project. Since 2017, Elizabeth was Chair of Trustees for YoungMinds, which campaigns for mental health support for children and young people

We will miss her dearly and extend our deepest condolences as a community to her family at this very difficult time.

Susan Liautaud
LSE Chair of Council

Posted by: Posted on by LSE Internal Communications

Jul 28 2020

In memory of Nicos Kyriacou


Written by Laura Dawson, Director Data and Technology Services

Image of Nicos at LSE, holding a trophyThe Data and Technology Services Division and wider LSE community is shocked and saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Nicos Kyriacou. Nicos joined LSE in the Information Management and Technology Division (as it was called at the time) in 2012, as the Windows 7 Project Co-ordinator. As with so many people who join LSE, he started with a short-term contract but became a permanent employee very quickly due to not only his obvious talents and engaging style, but also because he loved working here.

There are so many things that made Nicos such a valued member of the team: his honest and empathetic approach to anyone in LSE who had a problem with technology, his humour and objectivity in dealing with ‘difficult’ customers and helping everyone get to the right answer, his support and leadership of our student helpers, his innate sense of fun, his ability to see the root cause of a problem and help everyone to fix it, and his booming voice and clear enunciation which came from his acting roots.

Early on in his career with LSE, Nicos took on a change role in the team, starting our journey in professionalising our services by improving our processes and increasing the capability of the teams. He then took on the management and leadership of the Service Desk, beginning the work to nurture the team to be the best it possibly could be and making the team feel valued and integral to both LSE and the Division.

His last role in DTS was to become one of our new Business Partners, a role that so suited his talents and one he sadly didn’t have the time to really get his teeth into. This showed how much of a full understanding of the Division he had and how he could benefit students and staff to make the most out of technology. It is gutting that we never got to see how much he would shine in this role.

Nicos was not only exceptionally good at his job, professional and engaging, he was also our social secretary. He organised our Christmas Parties and was instrumental in bringing other teams (Digital and the Business Improvement Unit) together to join in the fun, including games and tournaments, that kept the action going and had something for everyone in them. But what he will be most remembered for on the social side were the quizzes. Run with consummate efficiency and a rod of iron, they were stupendously difficult, must-attend events and his decisions were always final no matter how senior you were. Many late afternoons, as work was finishing, he and I would discuss how things could be better in the division and invariably our conversation turned to our mutual love of football, albeit diametrically opposite football teams. I hope he had joy in his beloved Liverpool winning the Premiership this year.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been overwhelmed by the warmth and depth of feelings from across the School, a few of which are below:

“Thank you, Nicos, for being your unique, sparkly, charasmatic self. We will always remember your fun-loving energy that made everyone in the room smile. Rest in Peace”

“Nicos was just fantastic. It’s very sad indeed.”

“I am very sorry to hear of the very sad news that Nicos passed away. I sat opposite him when we were in IMT, so I got to know him quite well, and I can indeed testify to his professionalism in customer service. It is a great loss to his family, DTS and LSE.”

“I’m so sorry to hear the bad news. Over the years we’ve worked together and it was a real pleasure to work with him.”

“Nicos was a wonderful colleague and great servant of LSE. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

“Nicos was an absolutely lovely man and he will be sorely missed.”

“Nicos was a great colleague, always cheerful and helpful and often amused by some LSE foible or other. Very hard to imagine he’s gone.”

He has left behind DTS in a far better place than it was before he started. We have so many reasons to mourn his loss. Nicos was a colleague, someone we all saw everyday at work, that we all laughed with, argued with and got stuff done with. In these strange times, I know that when we do return to the office and things return to normal, we will feel his loss all over again: documents with his name as the author, deeply buried pages on the website and images on our help guides. I don’t really want to delete them or change them, he is a part of our story and he made us a better team.

Nicos passed away on Wednesday 8 July 2020 and leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful young boys. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

DTS will be holding an online memorial service on the 30 July at 2pm for anyone in LSE who cares to join us to remember Nicos – please get in contact to let us know if you’d like to join. We will also be hosting a quiz in his honour and memory in the middle of August – do let us know if you would like to enter a team.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

Jul 16 2020

In memory of Mr Ashok Desai

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The LSE community is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former Attorney General of India and distinguished LSE alumnus, Mr Ashok Desai.

Desai graduated from the LSE with a BSc in Economics in 1956. Prior to this, he studied at the prestigious Fergusson College in Pune and received the LLB degree from the Government Law College in Bombay. Shortly after graduation from the LSE, Desai was called to the English Bar in Lincoln’s Inn.

Desai went on to teach at both the Government Law College and the Bombay College of Journalism, and also worked as the legal correspondent for the Times of India. The Bombay high court designated Desai as a senior advocate in August 1977. He then served as Solicitor General of India from 1989-1990 before he was appointed Attorney General of India in July 1996. He remained in office until May 1998, through the governments of Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral.

Desai was also a member of the former LSE India Advisory Board which is chaired by Professor Lord Nick Stern, IG Patel Chair of Economics and Government at LSE, and NK Singh, politician and economist. NK Singh, a colleague and personal friend of Desai, commented ‘…he always had creative ideas on what could be done to enhance the academic reach of this prestigious institution in India. Fostering interchanges of students, faculty members and joint research projects were some of the ideas which he had put forward persuasively.’ Professor Lord Nick Stern added ‘Ashok was a very fine person and a wonderful friend of LSE. His scholarship, wisdom and fundamental integrity made a great contribution to LSE, India and the world.’

Outside of his law career, Desai had many eclectic interests. He had a passion for literature, history, politics and music; particularly Hindustani and Western Classical, and opera. Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Co-Director of the India Observatory at LSE, said ‘Desai and his wife Suvarna would often host get-togethers with senior alumni and friends at their home. The most recent being when they hosted LSE Director, Minouche Shafik, during her visit to New Delhi in September 2019. During these dinners he would regale his guests with fascinating stories from his vast experience’.

Desai is survived by his wife, Suvarna Desai.

Posted by: Posted on by Annenberg,A

May 7 2020

Jennifer Pinney


We are saddened to learn of the recent death of longstanding former member of staff, Jennifer Pinney, who worked at the School for 25 years. Colleague and friend Celia Phillips shares her memories of Jennifer.

I first met the formidable Miss Pinney when she arrived at the School. She had come from Paris OECD to head up the administration of the then new, post-Robbins Report Higher Education Research Unit headed by Claus Moser, then Social Statistics Professor there, and Philip Redfern, shortly to become the Head of OPCS. I had just finished my degree and embarked on a doctorate in the educational Statistics area with Claus and officialdom was strange to me. I was terrified of her initially. Jenny however, quickly smoothed my way so I was included in all seminars and given rapid access to any information or contacts I might need. In the days when this was not normal for graduate students she even found me a desk to perch on! She remained supportive, and I owe any proofreading skills I have to her careful tutelage over what seemed endless drafts of my thesis!

Once I joined the Staff, we became friends. And I discovered that her rather formal work demeanour concealed a lively sociable and sympathetic person. I have happy memories of her joining the LSE choir of which she remained a loyal supporter, suppers with musical friends, and many happy nights socialising and playing bridge. Later, she became a family friend and our children remember her exciting visits….

After she left EUSSHE (as it became) she continued her career within the School and others will be more fitted than I to talk of her fundraising under Dahrendorf, her other work with alumni and her whole contribution to the LSE. But over the years, we kept in touch.

In the early 2000’s she persuaded me to follow her ten years on as President of the University of London Lunch Club, one of the LSE-connected things which she continued to support and enjoy until relatively recently. Although her last few years were dogged by illness, I have fairly recent memories of lunches at the club, Easter at Kensington, and numerous musical events….

Celia Phillips  

Posted by: Posted on by O'Connor,D