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A History of LSE

The London School of Economics and Political Science was founded in 1895 by members of the Fabian Society - George Bernard Shaw (pictured right), Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Graham Wallas. The decision to establish the school was made at a breakfast party on the 4th August 1894 and was initially funded by a bequest of £20,000 from the estate of Henry Hunt Hutchinson.


The aim of the School was the betterment of society. By studying poverty issues and analysing inequalities, the Webbs sought to improve society in general. Sidney Webb in particular, noted Beatrice in her diaries, had a vision of 'a centre not only of lectures on special subjects but an association of students who would be directed and supported in doing original work.' Other donations were solicited to add to the Hutchinson legacy and the School developed rapidly through private philanthropy.

The School's coat of arms, including its motto and the beaver mascot, were adopted in February 1922. The Latin motto, "Rerum cognoscere causas", is taken from Virgil's Georgics. Its English translation is "to Know the Causes of Things" and is the basis and inspiration for the LSE100 course.  The beaver mascot was selected as it represents foresight, constructiveness and industrious behaviour.