Exhibition: The Power of Influence: William Beveridge as public intellectual and LSE Director

This exhibition CLOSED on Fri, 20th Dec 2019

This exhibition has finished.

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: Free of Charge

The LSE Library is marking the centenary of the appointment of William Beveridge as one of LSE’s most influential and widely known Directors.

We take visitors on a journey through Beveridge’s time in charge at the School, during the turbulent 1920s and 30s, via the story of two schemes that he established whilst here.

The first was his attempt to establish a department which he hoped would bring together explore and draw out the links between the natural and social sciences. Beveridge was a eugenicist, like many of his intellectual contemporaries, and his interest in the empirical basis of the natural sciences led him to establishing the Department of Social Biology. The department was headed by anti-eugenicist Lancelot Hogben and carried out scientific experiments which it was hoped could lead to insights for social the social sciences.

Eugenics infamously informed the philosophy of Adolf Hitler and his adherents as they took power in Germany in the early 1930s, which is where the second of the exhibition's stories begins. One of the first laws passed by the Nazis made it illegal for ‘non-Aryan', predominantly Jewish, individuals to hold posts in the Civil Service which led to the dismissal of many judges, teachers and academics.

Shaken by the treatment of academics, William Beveridge established the Academic Assistance Fund at LSE in 1933 which pooled donated money from teaching staff at the School to help support those seeking escape from Germany. The Fund eventually became the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning and would go on to help hundreds of people escape totalitarian regimes. It remains operational today as the Council for At-Risk Academics.

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


LSE Library,

10 Portugal Street,

Map of LSE Library