London School of Economics the United Kingdom

About London School of Economics

LSE & London

We work closely with local councils, the GLA and the Mayor of London on a wide range of issues that matter to London and LSE.

Our relationship with our home city is intrinsic to who we are and what we do. Like London, LSE is diverse, open to the world, vibrant and fully engaged in the conversations that truly matter.

The LSE experience is unashamedly urban and metropolitan; we are not a place of cloisters and green fields but we are at the very heart of things, both intellectually and physically.

LSE has diverse research interests that are directly relevant to London; indeed we have a research centre dedicated to London. Our academic output from right across the School takes in London-focused issues from housing and city planning, to social inequality and trade and financial regulation. And we are engaged with London, both at a local government and a community level.

We are proud to be working with schools across the capital to support access to Higher Education from students in ‘low-participation’ neighbourhoods. And we work closely with local councils, the GLA and the Mayor of London on a wide range of issues that matter to London, and of course to LSE students and staff. 

We are also immensely proud of our campus and are grateful for the support and recognition from partners right across the capital for the plans we have underway to develop it for the future. 

LSE and London share far more than a name.

Our history

“His vision is to found, slowly and quietly, a ‘London School of Economics and Political Science’ – a centre not only of lectures on special subjects, but an association of students who would be directed and supported in doing original work.” Beatrice Webb diary, 21 September 1894

LSE first opened its doors in 1895 in three rooms in 9 John Adam Street, close to the Strand, London. By October 1895, 200 students had enrolled for courses and in 1896 the School moved to larger premises at 10 Adelphi Terrace.

LSE was the brain child of Sidney Webb (1859-1947) supported by his wife, the social investigator Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), the political scientist Graham Wallas (1858-1932) and the writer G Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). All four were members of the Fabian Society. An economic historian, William Hewins (1865-1931) was appointed the first Director.  

“The special aim of the School will be, from the first, the study and investigation of the concrete facts of industrial life and the actual working of economic and political relations as they exist or have existed, in the United Kingdom and in foreign countries.”  LSE Prospectus, 1895

From the start, the School was open to men and women and welcomed students from overseas. The School was committed to providing its students with “scientific training in methods of investigation and research” and resources for research, and in 1896 it founded the Library, known from 1928 as the British Library of Political and Economic Science.

The first prospectus lists the subjects taught as economics, statistics, commerce, commercial geography, commercial history, commercial and industrial law, currency and banking, taxation and finance, and political science.

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Courses at London School of Economics

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