The 2018 LSE Festival was a programme of events 19-24 February on the theme “Beveridge 2.0: rethinking Beveridge for the 21st century”. What was life at LSE like while Sir William Beveridge was Director? What happened to LSE during World War II? How did Beveridge’s former LSE colleagues interact with the report in later years? Explore our collection of stories from LSE’s history.

Meet William Beveridge

William Beveridge was born in India in 1879 to British parents who worked in the Indian civil service. The family spent time in both India and Britain, before the final decision to move back to Britain in 1890. After attending Charterhouse school and Balliol College Oxford, Beveridge had spells at Toynbee House, a centre for social outreach in the East End of London, and the Morning Post where he began pursuing a career in social reform. His work on unemployment at this time found favour with Beatrice and Sidney Webb and Winston Churchill, and he was invited to join the Board of Trade in 1908. During World War I Beveridge was largely in food administration and rationing. He was unsure about its future post-war, when Sidney Webb suggested he apply for the LSE directorship.

Beveridge became LSE’s first post-war director in 1919 with the legacy of the First World War shadowing the School, and left nearly 20 years later as the Second World War loomed ahead. During his time at LSE, Beveridge set about expanding the School’s premises on the Clare Market site to include Houghton Street; championed sports and established a sportsground; increased LSE’s teaching remit; set up the Academic Assistance Board for refugee scholars; secured financial donations from the Rockefellers in the USA; and served as Vice Chancellor of the University of London. His LSE colleagues included now-famous individuals such as Eileen Power, Lionel Robbins, RH Tawney, Hugh Dalton, Josiah Stamp and Harold Laski.

A difficult last few years at LSE revolved around issues of academic freedom; the perceived favouritism of social biology as an academic path; and reactions to the management style of both Beveridge and secretary Jessy Mair. Beveridge’s initial move was to become master of University College, Oxford but his real skill was in research and evidence-based long term strategies for social reform. During the war he was eventually assigned to work on social insurance. In 1942 he published the Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services, known as the Beveridge Report, which was a proposal for Britain’s first universal care system. The report sought to tackle the five “giants” of disease, want, squalor, idleness and ignorance and became wildly popular with the British public.

Blogs

  • Professor Barna’s Social Survey of Stepney

Professor Barna’s Social Survey of Stepney

  • May 23rd, 2018

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, […]

  • The Guillebaud Report, the NHS and LSE

The Guillebaud Report, the NHS and LSE

  • May 2nd, 2018

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 […]

  • Sir Walter Adams – School Secretary and Director

Sir Walter Adams – School Secretary and Director

2018 is the 80th anniversary of the appointment of Sir Walter Adams as School Secretary in 1938. His appointment as Director in 1966 was to start a turbulent period in LSE’s history, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly.

Walter Adams (1906 -1975) was born in Brighton. He attended Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, before obtaining a first class honours degree from […]

  • Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

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 […]

  • Monitoring Global Poverty – Tony Atkinson and the World Bank

Monitoring Global Poverty – Tony Atkinson and the World Bank

  • March 16th, 2018

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, […]

  • A Beveridge Plan for an Unruly School? William Beveridge and LSE

A Beveridge Plan for an Unruly School? William Beveridge and LSE

  • March 14th, 2018

William Beveridge was Director of LSE 1919-37, leaving for Oxford before producing his famous report in 1942. Professor Michael Cox explored his LSE career and relationship with Beatrice and Sidney Webb at the Beveridge 2.0 event A Beveridge Plan for an Unruly School? William Beveridge and LSE.

Who was Beveridge? What sort of institution did he inherit? Why was he […]

  • Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

  • February 23rd, 2018

Ahead of the Beveridge 2.0 event Five LSE Giants’ Perspectives on Poverty, Professor Lucinda Platt explores LSE founder Beatrice Webb’s 1909 Minority Report on the Poor Law, Webb’s views on poor relief and potential influence on William Beveridge. Her report, for which Beveridge was a researcher, called for national and local appropriate coordinated provision for the poor and discussed healthcare, pensions and work. 
Two influential reports
Beatrice Webb’s points of connection […]

  • History events at Beveridge 2.0

History events at Beveridge 2.0

  • February 14th, 2018

Listen to podcasts from the free history events at the Beveridge 2.0 LSE Festival, 19-24 February 2018. Topics include the Second World War, the Welfare State and LSE in the 1930s. The LSE Library exhibition “A Time for Revolutions: Making the Welfare State” is still open to visitors.
Listen to podcasts
Beveridge in Context: reconstruction planning during the Second World War and after
Wednesday 21 February 2018 […]

  • What’s the future of the welfare state?

What’s the future of the welfare state?

  • February 9th, 2018

In 1942, former LSE Director William Beveridge launched his blueprint for a British universal care system. As part of the School’s celebration, this academic year, of the 75th anniversary of the publication of the Beveridge report, the LSE IQ podcast asks, “What’s the future of the welfare state?”

Whether it is the underfunding of the NHS or the amount we spend […]

  • William Beveridge and his Report

William Beveridge and his Report

  • January 31st, 2018

LSE Library’s current exhibition, A Time for Revolutions: The Making of the Welfare State, coincides with the 75th anniversary of the publication of the Beveridge Report and shows the development of social welfare in Britain from the Poor Laws to Universal Credit. Exhibition curator Inderbir Bhullar, looks at William Beveridge via his archives and his connections to LSE.

A telegram […]

  • A Vice Chancellor’s portrait – Sir William Beveridge in the Shaw Library

A Vice Chancellor’s portrait – Sir William Beveridge in the Shaw Library

  • October 30th, 2017

William Beveridge was Director of LSE 1919-1937. In 1926 he also became Vice Chancellor of the University of London. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly finds out how LSE commissioned artist William Nicholson to paint a portrait of Beveridge to mark the occasion.

On 25 June 1926 LSE Director, William Beveridge was elected to the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of London. In […]

  • Richard Titmuss and Social Policy at LSE

Richard Titmuss and Social Policy at LSE

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 […]

  • Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

  • September 20th, 2017

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, 1880-1959

Sydney Mary Bushell, 1880-1959

  • August 30th, 2017

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 […]

  • “Cheerful nonsense with brains behind it” – devising the LSE coat of arms

“Cheerful nonsense with brains behind it” – devising the LSE coat of arms

LSE’s coat of arms, motto “rerum cognoscere causas” and Beaver mascot were adopted in 1922 under Director William Beveridge and School Secretary Jessie Mair. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly shares the story of how they came about and who designed them. She names the winner of the School’s motto competition – and provides some of the unsuccessful entries.

Entering the Old Building from Houghton […]

  • Sporting prowess – The Ernest Cornwall Cup

Sporting prowess – The Ernest Cornwall Cup

The Ernest Cornwall Cup is a reminder of sporting prowess at LSE in the 1930s-1960s, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly.

Sport was a significant aspect of LSE life between the two world wars. William Beveridge, LSE Director from 1919-1937, was a keen badminton and tennis player and oversaw the purchase of the School’s sports ground at New Malden, with the […]

  • LSE Directors

LSE Directors

  • September 12th, 2016

Dame Nemat (Minouche) Shafik became the 16th director of LSE in September 2017. Sue Donnelly, LSE Archivist, provides a quick guide to her 15 predecessors.
William Hewins
(1865-1931), Director 1895-1903

LSE’s first Director was an economic historian whose organisational skills saw LSE grow from its beginnings in Adelphi Terrace to its new home in Passmore Edward Hall. He was later the Unionist MP for […]

  • All work and no play – the early years of the LSE sports ground

All work and no play – the early years of the LSE sports ground

Sport at LSE has a long history, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly, as is proved by the 1911 photograph of the first hockey team. But the acquisition of the Malden sports ground in 1921 encouraged sports of all kinds to flourish at LSE.

Under Director William Beveridge Houghton Street saw constant building, but LSE expansion also included the acquisition of […]

  • Tennis at LSE in the 1920s

Tennis at LSE in the 1920s

LSE’s sportsground opened in 1921 and among the many sports taking place at the new ground, in Malden, Surrey, was tennis. There was a tennis club and games took between staff and students. These images from the 1920s introduce tennis at LSE.

Tennis club, 1920:

Staff and student tennis, 1926 (William Beveridge (centre) on his left Vera Anstey, behind her Professor Arthur Sargent, to his […]

  • LSE’s “Deputy director, hostess, accountant, and lady of all work” – Christian Scipio Mactaggart, 1861-1943

LSE’s “Deputy director, hostess, accountant, and lady of all work” – Christian Scipio Mactaggart, 1861-1943

  • March 1st, 2016

LSE’s History series for LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. Sue Donnelly looks back at Christian Mactaggart: School Secretary 1896-1919. 

On 24 June 1943 a telegram arrived from Australia for LSE’s Director, Alexander Carr-Saunders, announcing the death of Christian Scipio Mactaggart who from 1896-1919 worked as School Secretary – not always with the title.

We know little […]

Further information

William Beveridge: a biography by Jose Harris

A History of the London School of Economics and Political Science 1895-1995 by Ralf Dahrendorf