Letter: Welcome for LSE's proposed purchase of County Hall

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The Independent Online
Sir: When Beatrice and Sidney Webb founded the London School of Economics in 1895, they had in mind an institution for free and unbiased research which, they hoped, would bear out their own socialist ideas and lead to improvements in the condition of the labouring classes.

County Hall itself is built upon an acre of land given to the Church of St Mary at Lambeth (now the Museum of Garden History) by a rich merchant, who, while still an impoverished pedlar, took shelter with his dog in the porch of the church one stormy night. A stained-glass window depicting the pedlar and his dog is still to be seen in the church, and the prayer inscribed thereon - 'May God prosper the land as he hath prospered me' - is still as relevant as ever.

If the London School of Economics succeeds in its bid to move into County Hall, it will surely carry out its work in the spirit of these deceased benefactors, and the fruits of that work will lead to a prosperity more soundly based and widely spread than any benefits of a luxury hotel could be.

Yours sincerely,


Wilmslow, Cheshire

6 August