Find out about academic life at LSE through the years with this selection of blog posts about both influential and lesser-known academics and students from LSE’s past, and their lives on campus.
Between the wars, London’s Mecklenburgh Square was home to five prominent women including LSE economic historian Eileen Power. Square Haunting author Francesca Wade spoke at an LSE Library event on 29 September 2020.
Focusing on Eileen Power, Francesca Wade’s talk was based on her book Square Haunting. Francesca Wade is now Associate Editor of The White Review. Her writing has appeared in […]
On 1 November 2019 GCHQ, the intelligence and security agency responsible for providing communications intelligence to the government and armed forces, marked its centenary. For the first time GCHQ revealed the role of five previously unrevealed sites across the UK in the history of British intelligence. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, investigates the LSE career of one woman destined to […]
Despite never holding an academic post Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood was a well known and respected historian and public intellectual. “The King’s War” and “The King’s Peace”, published in the 1950s, were widely read by the general public introducing many to the history of the English Civil War. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, investigates Wedgwood’s time as a PhD student […]
In the final instalment of the mini-series, Norman Biggs concludes his brief history of mathematics at LSE.
Previous instalments of this brief history have described how LSE recruited a group of mathematicians in 1966 and set up a small Department of Mathematics in 1994. At the start of the 1998-99 session the Department was still small, but hopeful. The Department […]
Harold Cecil Edey (1913–2007) joined the Department of Accounting as a Lecturer in 1949 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1980. And, during his thirty-year tenure at the LSE, Edey served as the School’s first Pro-Director in 1967. Today, a portrait of Edey by Sara Rossberg hangs on the walls of the Department of Accounting on the third floor […]
A portrait of the economic historian, R H Tawney, hangs on the 5th floor of Sardinia House. His association with the School lasted nearly 50 years from his arrival in 1913 to his death in 1962, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly.
1950 marked the 70th birthday of Richard Henry Tawney (1880-1962), economic historian and social critic, whose connection with LSE […]
In the second of a series charting the history of Economics at LSE, Jim Thomas explores the post-Robbins era from 1961, characterised by the “Americanisation” of Economics.
The retirement of Lionel Robbins in 1961 led to some confusion over who would replace him as the head of the Department and, observing this as a very junior member of staff, I saw […]
In the second part of a mini-series, Norman Biggs, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Mathematics, gives a brief history of mathematics at LSE. He covers the structure of the department, the move away from the traditional BSc (Econ), and development of Mathematics as a degree in its own right.
At the start of the academic year 1988/89 the Sub-Department of Mathematics […]
In the first of a series charting the history of Economics at LSE, Jim Thomas introduces the early principles of economics teaching, and explores the eras of Edwin Cannan (1895-1929) and Lionel Robbins (1929-1961).
1895-1929: the era of Edwin Cannan
When LSE was founded in 1895, Economics was centred on Cambridge and the teaching of Alfred Marshall, whose Principles of Economics […]
This is the first in the LSE Law Centenary series of blog posts celebrating a century since the formal beginnings of a Department of Law at LSE. The Department of Law was created in 1919, formalising a tradition of teaching law at LSE since its earliest days.
For over a century LSE has pioneered legal education and scholarship as a central part of […]
In the first part of a new mini-series, Norman Biggs, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Mathematics, gives a brief history of mathematics at LSE. He covers the period from the foundation of LSE and evolution of the teaching of statistics, to the creation of the first Chair of Mathematics and a new BSc in the 1960s, finishing with changes afoot […]
2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the promotion to Professor of the hugely influential philosopher, and founder of LSE’s Philosophy Department, Karl Popper. To celebrate this event Ewan Rodgers goes back to the archives to trace the story of LSE’s earliest forays into philosophy and the historical events that gave birth to the now world-renowned Department of Philosophy, Logic […]
Women’s rights activist and former Labour Member of Parliament for Northampton North Maureen Colquhoun was elected to the House of Commons in 1974. She became the first openly gay woman to serve in Parliament after coming out a year later, write Louise Armitage and Megan Marsh. Maureen studied at LSE in the mid-late 1940s and served as a local councillor […]
Over the past few years there has been renewed scholarly interest in the early history of the discipline of International Relations (IR) and the seminal role played by such figures as E H Carr, Hans J Morgenthau and key liberal theorists who helped build the foundations upon which the subject of IR came to be constructed in the twentieth century. Professor […]
In the mid 1960s Social Psychology emerged from Sociology as an independent department – the precursor of today’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, looks at the career of Hilde Himmelweit who led the discipline through its formative years at LSE.
Hildegarde Therese Litthauer was born in Berlin on 20 February 1918. Her father, Dr Siegfried […]
LSE often runs in the family with several generations making their way to Houghton Street. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly writes about an unusual mother and daughter duo.
In 1919 a young Indian woman, Mithan Ardeshir Tata enrolled to study at LSE. Mithan was born in 1898 into a Parsi family in Mumbai (then known as Bombay), the daughter of Herabai […]
Jennie Stayner introduces pioneering female academic Lilian Knowles, first female professor of Economic History at LSE, and first female Dean of Faculty in the University of London.
Intentionally or unintentionally, it seemed to be her lot to be breaking down barriers.
C M Knowles
Lilian Charlotte Anne Knowles (Tomn) was born in 1870 in Cornwall and spent a happy childhood riding horses and winning […]
In 1952 Kwame Nkrumah became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast and in 1957 the country gained its independence under the new name of Ghana. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about Nkrumah’s brief time at LSE.
Kwame Nkrumah was born in Nkroful on the Gold Coast in 1909. The precise date of his birth is unknown but he usually gave […]
Lucy Philip Mair – leading writer on colonial administration, early international relations scholar, and anthropologist
Lucy Philip Mair was a well-known anthropologist at LSE; she is far less known for her significant contributions to the history of the discipline of International Relations. Professor Patricia Owens, director of a new Leverhulme project on the history of women’s international thought, highlights this neglected, early aspect of Lucy Mair’s academic life.
Lucy Philip Mair was born on 28 […]
The early days of UKIP have its roots at LSE. Curator for Politics and International Relations Daniel Payne takes a look at the Library archives that document the development of euroscepticism in the UK.
In November 1993 the Maastricht Treaty came into force. It was a highly controversial treaty, not just for the UK, which nearly bought down John Major’s Conservative […]
Susan Strange held the Montague Burton Chair in International Relations 1978-88 and was a world renowned leader of the field, writes Professor Patricia Owens of the University of Sussex. Susan Strange had studied at LSE and become a journalist before returning to academia. As a professor at LSE, she published her most influential books and founded the British International Studies Association. Later, she became […]
For 32 years Ragnhild Hatton was a member of the International History Department. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, investigates her career as a historian and teacher of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Ragnhild Hatton was born in Bergen, Norway in 1913. Her family was well to do with links to Bergen’s shipping interests, but her father, Gustav Ingolf Hanssen was an […]
Sally Sainsbury completed the Diploma Social Policy and Administration at LSE in 1963, before joining the Department of Social Administration to become a research assistant and a teacher. She established herself a leader in the field of disability and social policy and retired as Emeritus Reader in Social Administration, Department of Social Policy. Here, Professor David Piachaud remembers a dedicated, unstinting […]
Edith Abbott, an economist, social worker and women’s equality campaigner, was the first American woman to be appointed the dean of a graduate school in the United States. She had studied at LSE in the early 1900s and was influenced by Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s work in social reform.
Edith Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1876 to Elizabeth Maletta […]
Victoria de Menil revisits the politics of Jomo Kenyatta’s supposedly de-political master’s thesis, later published as Facing Mount Kenya, particularly in relation to land and female circumcision. She asks who the intended audience was, and what legacy the book has left behind.
Once upon a time an elephant made a friendship with a man. One day a heavy thunderstorm broke […]
Somerset-born Alice Clark came from a family of pacifist shoe-makers who were involved in the suffrage movement. LSE curator Gillian Murphy finds that Alice Clark also held a Shaw Research Studentship in economic history at LSE.
Alice Clark, daughter of Helen and William Clark, was born in Street in Somerset in 1874. She was a Quaker by birth, and also a Liberal, and her family were […]
Sir Theodore Gregory (1890-1970) could be said to epitomise LSE. A student and member of staff from 1910 to 1937, he was international in outlook; interested in theory, practice and history; a gifted teacher; and valued by governments and institutions across the world, writes Robert Bigg. Gregory was, appropriately, one of the inaugural Honorary Fellows of the School in 1958.
As you walk towards the Library turnstiles in the Lionel Robbins Building the bronze head of Lionel Robbins surveys the scene. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the portrait bust of Professor Lionel Robbins.
Lionel Robbins (1898-1984) first arrived at LSE in 1920 to study for the BSc (Econ). Initially he focused on the history of political ideas but also […]
LSE Library holds the papers of the late Fred Halliday (1946-2010), former Professor of International Relations at LSE, writes Ben Martill. Fred Halliday had long ties to the School and a formidable reputation both in research and as a public intellectual.
About the Fred Halliday collection
The collection consists of over 350 files of personal effects, correspondence, memoirs, draft texts, travel-notes and work documents, […]
In 1946 Professor Tibor Barna led around 100 LSE student volunteers in a ‘Social Survey of Stepney’ and their findings are among his papers in LSE Library. The goal was to interview real Eastenders about their lives against the backdrop of postwar re-imagination of London’s East End. Inderbir Bhullar explores the archives.
This blog is about a story which, unfortunately, […]
As the NHS reaches its 70th anniversary, LSE Library’s Inderbir Bhullar explores the involvement of LSE’s Richard Titmuss and Brian Abel-Smith in the 1953 Guillebaud Report on the costs of the NHS.
On 5 July 2018 the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. The anniversary will likely focus on how it came to be born as part of William Beveridge’s revolutionary plans for reformed social […]
On Friday 16 March 2018 during the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945 seminar, Rozemarijn van de Wal talked about her ongoing research into economic historian Eileen Power. After having found some new materials in American archives, she shared some of her initial findings in researching Eileen Power’s relationship with the United States of America.
A pencil portrait of Vera Anstey hangs in the lobby of the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the portrait and a woman connected with LSE for 55 years.
Vera Anstey retired in 1964 and following her death in 1976 the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building was named in Vera’s honour […]
As part of the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945 seminar to mark Women’s History Month, LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, took a look at the first volume of the LSE Register, 1895-1932 to find out more about the women who taught and studied at LSE in its early years.
“The advantages of the School will be […]
LSE Library’s Sonia Gomes explores Dame Mary Eugenia Charles’ student journey at LSE. Later Dominica’s first female prime minister, Charles came to post-war London to study law in the late 1940s before returning to the Caribbean to set up her own legal practice and, eventually, political party.
Charles was the youngest of four, born in the Caribbean island of Dominica in […]
At the Beveridge 2.0 LSE Festival event Five LSE Giants’ Perspectives on Poverty, Professor Stephen Jenkins explained how the World Bank is changing its methodological approach as a result of the Monitoring Global Poverty report written by an “LSE Giant”, Professor Sir Anthony (Tony) B Atkinson (1944-2017), formerly Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics, 1980–1992, and Centennial Professor, […]
Historian Margaret Lambert gained a PhD in international relations at LSE in the 1930s and after the war spent much of her career as an editor-in-chief at the Foreign Office, specialising in contemporary German history. She also collected and wrote about English folk art with her partner, the designer Enid Marx. Dr Clare Taylor explores her fascinating life.
Margaret Lambert […]
The Graham Wallas Room on the fifth floor of the Old Building is named in honour of perhaps the least known of the quartet of LSE Founders – the political psychologist, Graham Wallas (1858-1932). LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the man and his portrait recently installed in the Graham Wallas Room.
In August 1894 Graham Wallas was a house […]
LSE is a world-leading pioneer of the social sciences. Subjects like international relations, social policy, sociology, social anthropology, social psychology and criminology all have their origins as subjects of university study in the innovative work carried out by LSE academics. Here are a selection of examples from LSE’s early years.
Academic accountancy in Britain was pioneered at LSE by a […]
Mervyn King remembers James Edward Meade, one of the greatest British economists. Meade taught at LSE and received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1977.
James Meade wrote economics the old-fashioned way – with pen and paper, and working out for himself the answers from first principles. In October 1977, James was preoccupied with putting the finishing touches to […]
LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly introduces Nobel prize winner Ralph Bunche, who was the first black American to gain a PhD in political science. After achieving his doctorate at Harvard and teaching at Howard University, Ralph Bunche came to LSE to study anthropology under Bronislaw Malinowski during 1936-37. His later career spanned the United Nations and American civil rights movement […]
LSE’s Alex Free profiles Jomo Kenyatta – the first president of Kenya and an LSE graduate who came to London and studied social anthropology under Bronisław Malinowski in the 1930s. A leading pan-Africanist with an ultimately mixed political legacy in office, Kenyatta produced his famous ethnographic study of the Kikuyu, Facing Mount Kenya, while at LSE.
Jomo Kenyatta is a fascinating […]
Richard Titmuss arrived at LSE in 1950 as the School’s first Chair of Social Administration. Titmuss refocused LSE’s social policy provision towards engagement with what he termed the ‘welfare state’ and his efforts boosted the School’s reputation for academic social policy. His years of public engagement made him Britain’s leading authority on social policy and earned him a CBE […]
The politician and social reformer Beatrice Serota (1919-2002) both studied and taught at LSE and later became an Honorary Fellow. She is best known for her career in government, championing an inclusive approach to social policy. LSE Curator Gillian Murphy introduces LSE Library’s archive collection covering Beatrice Serota’s working life.
Beatrice Serota was born on 15 October 1919 in London. She attended Clapton […]
Sydney Mary Bushell made significant contributions to the field of housing in the 1920s, particularly women’s housing, with the Garden City and Town Planning Association and Women’s Pioneer Housing. Born in Greenwich and raised in Liverpool and Formby, Sydney attended the North London Collegiate School for Girls. After working as a welder in the First World War, Sydney enrolled […]
Sir Sydney Caine, LSE student and Director, oversaw a period of expansion and tension during the 1960s. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly investigates.
“Very dully, no doubt, in a world in which novelty is so often taken as the supreme value, I accepted—and accept—the basic character of the School.”
Sir Sydney Caine (1902-1991) is among those LSE Directors who have experienced LSE life […]
The Department of Mathematics established its first History of Mathematics course in 2012. Five years later, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Norman Biggs shares the story behind the founding of the course and the people involved in making it the success it is today.
By about 2010 the fledgling Mathematics Department at LSE had grown to the point where it could be […]
2017 saw the 90th anniversary of the establishment of a Chair in Social Anthropology at LSE. The Department of Anthropology’s Katharine Fletcher looks back at its first occupant, pioneering social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. Malinowski was born in Poland and spent much of the First World War conducting fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands, bringing the findings of his work to LSE in the 1920s.
Ninety years ago, on […]
LSE professor James Meade was a Nobel Prize-winning economist whose work shaped twentieth century international trade policy. His archives are held by LSE Library and featured in the exhibition A Wealth of Ideas: economics and LSE. Inderbir Bhullar, Curator of Economics and Social Policy at LSE Library, discusses Meade’s work along with that of LSE stalwarts Lionel Robbins and Hugh Dalton.
Trade agreements are […]
Founding head Professor Saul Estrin looks back the first ten years of the Department of Management at LSE.
In the early 2000s, LSE had long been providing excellent management education but in a fragmented way. Guided by then Director Sir Howard Davies, four former departments, henceforth Groups, were merged into the new Department of Management in June 2005. I was […]