How it all got started

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.

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.



The School has a cosmopolitan student body from 140 countries


It also has a cosmopolitan staff with about 45 per cent drawn from countries outside the UK


A variety of languages is spoken on LSE’s campus

LSE alumni

LSE alumni spans the world, covering over 190 countries with more than 70 active alumni groups

Nobel prize winners

A total of 16 Nobel prize winners in economics, peace and literature have been either LSE staff or alumni. The first was George Bernard Shaw, one of the founders of LSE, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925. The most recent was Professor Christopher Pissarides, professor of economics at LSE and holder of the Norman Sosnow Chair in Economics, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010. He is also a fellow of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE and of the Centre for Economic Policy Research. For more details please see the Nobel Prize winners web page.

World leaders, MPs and House of Lords

In all, 34 past or present world leaders have studied or taught at LSE and 31 current members of the UK House of Commons and 42 members of the House of Lords have also either taught or studied at LSE. For more details please see the World leaders web page.

Discover more about the people who have played important roles in LSE’s history and on the world stage.

World leaders, MPs and House of LordsPast nobel prize winners