History of St Philips

The St Philips building, also known as buildings X, Y and Z, was built in 1903 and is rumoured to be haunted. It became part of the LSE campus when the School took over the running of the building in the early 1990s.

Before 1903, the area was a mix of very poor, poor and a few comfortable houses. The Kingsway wasn't laid out until 1905 and from 1871 to 1901 the people living in the 11 houses on Sheffield Street had occupations ranging from engineer, to rag and bone men, to servant cook.

There were shops where the St Philips building now stands. Mr Jewell ran a waste paper merchant shop and was also the rag and bone man. A Cadbury chocolate shop stood on the corner opposite the Old Curiosity Shop, where the North Building now stands. Only numbers 9, 10 and 11 still exist in Sheffield Street, the opposite side was demolished and made way for the building of the St Philips Building in 1903, when the area changed dramatically soon after with the building of Kingsway through all the slum housing.

The use of the St Philips building since 1903 has always been medical, with the LSE medical centre situated in the South Building even now. It opened as the Strand Union Workhouse Infirmary and was used to house the sick and injured from the local  workhouse until the First World War, during which it was used as an observation hospital for war refugees. After the war in 1919, it was sold to the Metropolitan Asylums Board for the sum of £20,000. Fifty two beds were created in the North Block and the hospital treated venereal diseases in woman until the NHS bought it in 1952. By this time it was known as the Sheffield Street Hospital.

The NHS chose the name of St Philips soon after they purchased it. The hospital dealt with kidney, urology and nephrology patients from 1969 until closure in the mid 1980s. Across the road at 11 Sheffield Street, there was still a working shop. The last known use for trading at number 11 was by Hepburn and Cocks. They were dispatch box makers and you can still see the sign and facade of the shop today.

At the current time the building cannot meet the School's needs as it is inefficient in its use of space. The proportion of the space that is useable is much lower than in other LSE buildings and disabled access is poor. The School intends to demolish St Philips and develop a building that maximises the site's full potential.