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“The life of the School has always been a life of adventure.”
William Beveridge, director of LSE from 1919 to 1937, uttered those words in 1930, when the university was a mere 35 years old.
Fast forward to the present. It’s been 85 years since Beveridge’s speech and 120 years since the university first opened its doors. But the adventure hasn’t stopped, thanks to the colourful cast of characters populating LSE’s past (and present).
From Kennedys to Rockefellers, winners of the Nobel Prize to musicians, a wide variety of individuals have called the university their stomping ground.
The Fabian Society: In 1895, George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and Graham Wallas established the university. Members of the Fabian Society, the country’s oldest political think tank, LSE’s founders envisioned “a School of Economics” that would promote a fairer society by studying the causes of poverty and inequality. For Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw, the connection to the school bled into his work. In his 1913 play Pygmalion, the central character Eliza Doolittle enrols in bookkeeping and shorthand classes to enhance her business acumen. Today, LSE is home to the Fabian Society archives.
John F. Kennedy: The 35th president of the United States is one of a number of world leaders the university counts among its former students. However, although Kennedy did enrol as a General Course student in 1935, he never began his studies due to illness and the school paid back his fees as he returned to the U.S. LSE was however responsible for the introduction of Kennedy to American billionaire David Rockefeller, a student at the university between 1937 and 1938.
Mick Jagger: The Rolling Stones’ lead vocalist was a finance and accounting student at LSE in the early 1960s, but dropped out to pursue his career in music. During his time at LSE, he was just getting started with the band, going to classes during the week and playing gigs on the weekends. He admits while at the time it was a “totally stupid decision,” he didn’t particularly like the academic life. Mick Jagger has since been knighted for his contribution to popular music.
Malcom X: Just ten days before his assassination, Malcom X addressed a full house in the Old Theatre after receiving an invitation from the Africa Society. The Beaver covered the speech and reported on Malcom X’s “brilliant rhetoric.” Tim Gospill, editor of The Beaver at the time, noted Malcom X was “quite intimidating” and possessed considerable charisma.
Angelina Jolie: This past February, LSE welcomed UNHCR Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and First Secretary of State William Hague to campus to launch the Centre for Women, Peace, and Security. The centre will undertake research on women in conflict areas and promote policy solutions to end sexual violence in conflict. Jolie and Hague are co-founders of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI).
Interested in exploring more about the players in LSE’s storied past? Join the anniversary celebration and follow along on Twitter at #LSE120.
Celebrating 120 years of LSE
LSE Campaigns: Changing the World is Just How We Roll
Antonia Jennings, a postgrad student at LSE, explains the best ways to find private accommodation in London.
Coming to study at the LSE doesn’t mean you have to live in LSE accommodation! Away from LSE halls there are plenty of privately-rented rooms and houses, all across the city. If that’s something you’d like to do, read on for a few pointers on starting your search.
Where to look
You should start your search online. The most popular website for finding an available room in a house is www.spareroom.co.uk. Others include www.gumtree.com/london/room+to+rent, uk.easyroommate.com and www.roombuddies.co.uk. There are loads more that a quick Google search will give you, but these are the main websites used by students.
These websites will give you details on the specifics of the room, the location of the property, and the current other occupants of the flat/house. It’s worth trying to meet your future housemates before you move in together, to have a sort of mutual interview. If you can’t do this, then a Skype interview might be a good idea! You can then get a better idea of whether your lifestyles will be a good housemate fit.
Once you’ve found a place you like, make sure you read your contract. Find out how long you are committed to the room for, whether bills are included, how much the deposit is, and what you will have to do if you want to leave the property. Unfortunately, London landlords are notorious for bad behaviour, so make sure you know exactly what your rights are from the beginning! Renters Rights London (http://www.rentersrightslondon.org/) are a great resource for what you are entitled to as a renter in London.
London is sooo big, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where you should be living! Students truly live all over the city. As a general rule, price of accommodation is highest in zone 1, with each subsequent zone a little cheaper. The ‘zone’ system in London is primarily used to calculate transport fares, but it also provides a good indicator of distance from LSE and price. You can see the zones in the underground map below, in the white and grey shading.
Transport costs are something to factor into your property search. While you might find an extremely cheap property in zone 3, be aware that the cost of travelling to and from campus every day will be high, and you might actually be financially better off in zone 2! As an LSE student, you are eligible for a student oyster (travel) card. Make sure you get one as this will save you 30% on all London transport! Transport for London (TfL) has a list of student fares here:
In terms of specific areas, Hackney, Shoreditch, Southwark and Camden are all areas with particularly high numbers of students. To know exactly where to go, looking up local attractions, online reviews of areas and speaking to anyone you know who’s been to London is a good place to start. Spareroom has a ‘Where to live wizard’ which can help you too: http://www.spareroom.co.uk/flatshare/where_to_live_wizard.pl
This is by no means a comprehensive outline of where to live in London, but hopefully it will give you a good idea of where to start. Please add your own tips and suggestions below in the comments!
And finally, GOOD LUCK!
Antonia Jennings, a current postgrad at LSE, shares unbiased knowledge of LSE’s postgraduate halls, their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.
Overview: A modern halls of residence, Butler’s Wharf is made up of 46 self-contained flats, each with their own shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, showers and toilets. In your room you’ll get a personal washbasin, and you will share a flat with five other people (six of you in total).
Why? Price. Butler’s Wharf is the cheapest postgraduate hall, with single rooms starting at £134 a week. Still not that cheap, but what did you expect from living in London? You can also stay at Butler’s Wharf throughout the summer, which is something to consider if you’d like to do a full 12 months in London. Other halls use the summer to house summer schools and conferences.
Why not? If you like your privacy, there is no option to have your own en-suite bathroom at Butler’s Wharf. The room sizes are some of the smallest you’ll get at the LSE, and you’ll have to get the tube (subway/underground for you international students!) to the LSE if you want your journey to be under half an hour. Walking, it’s around 45 minutes from door to door.
Overview: A beautiful old Victorian building, Grosvenor House offers a range of accommodation minutes walk from campus. All the rooms are self-contained, with a private toilet, shower facilities and a mini-kitchen in each. In the middle of central London, Grosvenor House is close to Oxford Street, Coven Garden, Soho and Leister Square.
Why? It’s beautiful, you get your own shower and you can wake up fifteen minutes before your lecture (and pop into some shops along the way!). There are a range of room types and prices, depending on whether you’d like a room to yourself, you’re in a couple or would like to have a roommate. The rooms are comparatively large, but bear in mind you’ve got a mini-kitchen in there with you!
Why not? The location might not be for everyone. You can’t live more centrally in London, and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city is near impossible. You’re also paying a lot for the location too, single studios starting at £266 per week, climbing steeply upwards to one bed flats for couples at £509 per week.
Overview: Lilian Knowles is situated in trendy East London, close to many bars, boutiques and fancy food markets. It’s got a range of room types, with some single studios/one bedroom flats but the majority of rooms grouped into flats very similar to those in Butler’s Wharf. It’s well connected with Liverpool St station having trains that run out of the city every few minutes.
Why? If you are a fan of craft beer and alternative music nights, East London is the place for you. Home to some of the best clubs and bars in London, Shoreditch is a whirlwind of independent record shops, artisan cafes and outrageous hairstyles. It’s a little further from campus than some of the other halls, but you can still walk to the LSE in about 30-40 minutes. The rooms are on the cheaper end of the spectrum too.
Why not? The room sizes vary, a lot. You also can’t really be sure whether you’ll end up with a bigger or smaller room, as price is depends on factors such as location within the building, available natural light, or how close it is to shared facilities. A single room can be as small as 8 square meters, which for £147 a week is around £18 per square meter!
Overview: Located near Borough market (pronounced buh-ruh) on the south side of the Thames, Sidney Webb is a fairly new accommodation that houses flats with between six to eight rooms. The flats share a kitchen/dining room, with each room having a private toilet and shower. It’s one of the biggest LSE has to offer, housing 454 graduate students.
Why? Sidney Webb is a social hall which has many communal events and nights. You have the option of extending your contract through summer here, and are automatically covered for Easter and Christmas vacations. Borough market is a foodie’s paradise, with freshly baked goods, meat and dairy available daily. If you walk quickly, you can get to LSE on foot in under half an hour.
Why not? There’s no option to share a room at Sidney Webb. Also, while the active sociable lifestyle might be fine for some, if you’re less social butterfly and more study mad Sidney Webb might not be for you. Also, while Borough market is full of deliciousness, it’s pretty pricey and can be a horrible unaffordable temptation right on your doorstep!
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