Chapter VIII
LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS REMADE

The University years are a blessed interval between die two disciplines that make up life -- a sudden freedom.... Every man is known best by the way in which he uses riches, and the greatest of riches is freedom.

Director's Address to New Students, October 1929.

I BECAME Director of the London School of Economic and Political Science in the University of London on October 1, 1919. I remained Director for eighteen years, taking me from the age of forty to the age of fifty-eight. They were years of great and varied activity, as such years should be. They illustrate the main theme of this volume, of Power and Influence as the means of change, in a new field, of a University in place of a Government department. They furnish material for four chapters overlapping in time.

The present chapter is concerned with the change of the School of Economics, from being a small institution of part-time teachers and adult students, to being a large institution of teachers mainly full-time and students mainly of ordinary undergraduate age. The next chapter shows how the University of London acquired a home of its own in Bloomsbury. The third chapter records some of the other activities, public and private, of affairs and of writing, for which time remained to me in those years. The last chapter of the four rings down the curtain on various illusions which had amused the world and me since the Armistice of November 1918.

The School of Economics, born in 1895 of an idea and a small legacy, illustrates the greatness of the Webbs more than anything else that they did.

Others than the Webbs, in the close of the nineteenth century, were deploring the state of economic studies and were urging action to make better provision for such studies. The Webbs took action. "Ideas may come to many men. Sidney Webb had the master gift of making ideas viable."1

The Webbs had many other ideas than the School of Economics in

____________________
1
This and the next quotation in the following paragraph are from a chapter contributed by me to a book on The Webbs and Their Work, edited by Margaret Cole ( Frederick Muller, 1949).

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