Chapter IX
THE BLOOMSBURY SITE AND ITS RESCUE

We cannot build, we do not need to build again, Oxford or Cambridge or St. Andrews. But London remains. The chance of London, when all chance seemed lost, by this miracle of generosity from overseas, has been restored to us.

Speech at Graduation Dinner of University of London, May 11, 1927.


1. The Site is Offered and Withdrawn

THE University of London, when I knew it first, was not easy to find in London. Its administrative offices and seat of government were in part of the Imperial Institute Building in South Kensington. Soon after I became Director of the School of Economics, I had occasion to visit this seat of government in a hurry. The cab-driver, when I asked for the University of London, looked blank. As I explained, a light broke on him. "Oh, you mean the place near the Royal School of Needlework." I discovered that this was what I did mean. There was in Imperial Institute Road an institution devoted to the art of needlework, and advertising itself by a notice-board of exceptional size. Turning off at this notice, one came in due course to a flight of steps at the head of which, in a good light, one could read, on one side only, the name of the University of London.

I did not, for some time after this discovery, have reason to repeat the journey. The School of Economics was one of the larger Colleges of the University of London. But its Director as such held no position in the University. Under the constitution of that time, dating from 1900, the government of the University rested with a Senate of fifty-six members. About a third of these were chosen by the teachers in their various Faculties of Arts, Science, Medicine, Laws, Music, Engineering, Economics and Theology. About the same number were elected by the graduates of the University, also by Faculties. The remaining third, described familiarly as the tertium quid of the Senate, were appointed by other authorities -- the Crown, the London County Council, the City Corporation, the four Inns of Court, and the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Surgeons. The tertium quid included also four nominees

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