Tales from Houghton Street: Mary Evans


Mary Evans
Clara Cook
Relationship to LSE
1967 BSc Econ; LSE Centennial Professor, Gender Institute
Student life at LSE; Academic life at LSE; LSE in the 1960s; LSE in the 2000s; Campus; Notable people; LSE Students' Union; Developments in higher education


Track 1 [41:52] [Session one: 15 July 2015] Mary Evans [ME], born 1946. 1967 BSc Econ; now LSE Centennial Professor, Gender Institute. First came to LSE Autumn 1964 to read Politics part of BS Econ, a University of London degree. [00.54] Describes first impressions of campus: overwhelming. [01.11] Most students from the UK. [01.44] University application form. [02.27] Becoming interested in her area of expertise. Women’s movement 1960s and 70s. [02.47] Year at Harvard 1976, lots of work in women’s studies, inspired to bring back to the UK. [03.37] Teaching sociology at University of Kent at Canterbury at the time. [04.00] Describes her academic career as bookended by LSE, having done undergraduate and Master’s degrees before moving to Sussex and Kent. [04.37] Retired from University of Kent and applied to the Gender Institute at LSE to continue academic work. Then became Centennial Professor. [05.16] Describes changes at LSE since she studied here: physical campus changed, undergraduates still largely from the UK. [07.20] Gendered hierarchy of power of LSE a general characteristic of UK universities. More women in more academic jobs but hierarchy still male. [08.28] Female students when ME arrived at only 10% of student body, but only 6% of age group came to higher education. [09.19] When ME was at LSE many part time teachers were women. [10.22] Describes being at LSE as a student: fascinating. [11.08] Describes some of the teaching as sheer magic. [11.45] General Secretary of Student’s Union during second year. [12.10] Describes first year address to new students from Sir Sydney Caine: as a student do more than just work. [13.05] Student politics and societies. Great speakers. [13.35] Favourite place on campus – particular seat in Old Library in Old Building. Third floor coffee bar in the Old Building. [14.20] LSE was very small in the 60s: Old Building, East Building and St Clement’s Building. Two pubs. [15.11] Uses the current Library for browsing, also uses Women’s Library. [15.49] Change in technology everything now is online whereas previously students were completely dependent on them. Libraries now have a different purpose for students. [16.50] Growth of Gender Institute. [17.40] Future of Gender Institute. [18.15] Undergraduate teaching of gender. [18.57] Highlights as a faculty member: 20th anniversary of the Gender Institute and positive day to day experience of the Institute. [20.12] Differences between LSE and other universities: funding patterns, history. League tables and REF create competition but the real difference is between pre and post 1992 universities. [21.59] Interest in detective fiction, conference at Bath Spa University. [23.06] Education was free in the '60s, no fees or student debt, grants were common. [24.09] Expensive living in central London: rent. [24.24] Food: people mostly ate in halls or Refectory. Fewer places to eat in London. Food culture came late 70s/early 80s. [25.25] Food in Refectory was ghastly. [26.11] Wright’s Bar. [26.35] Graduating: LSE didn’t give its own degrees, had to go to the Albert Hall. Didn’t go and received degrees through the post. [27.48] Memorable teachers: Michael Oakeshott, Ralph Miliband, Meghan Desai. [28.13] Michael Oakeshott’s history of political philosophy lectures were magical. [29.18] Description of working with faculty colleagues now. [30.04] Challenges of LSE as a student: background in provincial girls’ school with a limited curriculum. [31.15] Differences between girls’ and boys’ education in the ‘60s. Challenge of catching up to boys’ education. [34.46] Now, different schools still have different access. [35.27] No difficulties as a woman. Friendly and supportive. Different experiences at different universities in the ‘60s with gender and class. [37.15] Challenges at LSE as a faculty member. [37.54] Thoughts on the future of LSE: maintain debate, dissent, difference, diversity. [39.11] Being an undergraduate at LSE a rewarding experience. Enjoyed. Freedom. Depth of lectures and personalities of those giving the lectures. [40.00] Differences between being an undergraduate in the 1960s and now.

Licensing information

CC-BY-NC-SA logoThis item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license.

This license lets you remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit us and license your new creations under identical terms.