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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


London School of Ethics and Social Philosophy

Also known as School of Ethics and Social Philosophy


It was founded in 1897 by members of the London Ethical Society to provide university-level education in philosophy to those unable to attend a university (Peter Gordon and John White, Philosophers as Educational Reformers: The Influence of Idealism on British Educational Thought and Practice, 1979)

It was supported by some of the distinguished philosophers of the day (Bertrand Russell, ‘Was the World Good before the Sixth Day?’ (lecture, 11 February 1899, in Kenneth Blackwell ed, Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 1: Cambridge Essays 1888–1899, 1983)

However, although well-meaning it was short-lived, mainly because it was not succeeding in attracting the working classes to its lectures, as it had hoped; it finally failed in its last-ditch bid to become a Public Educational Institution and was forced to close in 1900 (G. E. Moore, The Elements of Ethics, ed Tom Regan, 1991)

Many of its members later became part of the new London School of Economics when the University of London was restructured at the beginning of the twentieth century

What was reforming about it?

It provided university-level philosophical instruction to local people

Where in Bloomsbury

It was based at the Passmore Edwards Settlement in Tavistock Place from its foundation in 1897 until its closure in 1900

Website of current institution

It no longer exists

The successor institution, the London School of Economics, is at www.lse.ac.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

There is a brief but authoritative account in Tom Regan’s Introduction to his edition of G. E. Moore’s The Elements of Ethics (1991)


None found

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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