For over fifty years LSE shared Clare Market and Clement’s Inn Passage with the Government Laboratory and the St Clement’s Press.
In 1897 the Government Laboratory had moved from Somerset House to purpose built accommodation in Clement’s Inn Passage, designed by the Sir Thomas Edward Thorpe, the principal government chemist. The building was designed around its laboratories and, as LSE developed its premises, the Government Laboratory used LSE rooms for its winter lecture series and laboratory staff visited the School cafeteria.
At the other end of Clare Market a noisier neighbour, the St Clement’s Press, moved into a new building in 1898. The building was designed by Emden, Egan and Company, an architect better known for designing hotels and cinemas. The building, known as Strand Newspaper House, was built with printing presses and folding rooms on the basement and ground floors and offices above. St Clement’s Press produced the Financial Times and for many years LSE lived alongside the clatter of the printing presses.
Between the laboratory and the printing press stood St Clement Danes parish vestry offices, the last remnant of the original parish local government. The building was integrated into the St Clement’s Press building in 1926.
In 1958 the Linstead Report into the working of the Government Laboratory noted that the building was woefully outdated and recommended a move to new premises. In 1959 the laboratory moved to Cornwall House on the south bank near Waterloo Station. When the St Clement’s Press moved to Cannon Street the same year LSE was able to gain possession of the entire site.
St Clement’s phase one
1959-1962 saw the conversion of The St Clement’s Press building for School use. R.C White-Cooper oversaw the adaptation of the building which retains the original Victorian building at its core. Funded by the University Grants Committee the building was stripped back and given a modern exterior.
The artist Harry Warren Wilson was commissioned to produce two art works for the building. The etched glass entrance doors were designed to symbolise economics, statistics, and geography – some of the departments who found a home in the building. The corner of Clare Market and Portugal Street was decorated with an aluminium mural depicting the breadth of the social sciences – law, government, trade, transport, finance and industry. Academic Board were not impressed with the mural and requested a change but the mural remains.
St Clement’s phase two
The extension along Clement’s Inn Passage was designed and built alongside the Clare Market by Easton and Robertson, Cusdin, Preston and Smith. The two buildings were linked by a bridge across Clement’s Inn Passage.
Also funded by the University Grants Committee, like Clare Market, the building quality suffered from funding restrictions. The building was opened in 1968.