Greater London Group

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Greater London Group
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The Greater London Group was a research centre at the London School of Economics that was created in 1958 and focused on issues of London government. It has been recognised as having had a significant impact during the 1960s and upon the creation of the Greater London Council in 1965.


It was founded by Professor William A. Robson (1895–1980) and consisted of a group of academics at the London School of Economics (LSE) led by Robson.WEB,weblink William Robson and the Greater London Group at LSE, Edward, Page, London School of Economics, 13 May 2015, Its creation reflected interest in what direction the growing metropolis would go inNEWS,weblink Tomorrow's London, Jeremy, Bugler, The Observer, London, 8 April 1973, 13, and debates about what form government in London should take.BOOK, Kochan, Ben, 2008, London government 50 years of debate: The contribution of LSE's Greater London Group, London School of Economics, 4, Introduction,weblink Early members of the group came from a variety of disciplines, including social administration expert David Donnison, geographer Michael Wise, political scientist Richard Pear, and scholar of public administration Peter Self. The group carried out an extensive survey on local government in London, which was then drawn upon by the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London. In 1959 the group put forth a Memorandum of Evidence in an attempt to define an area that would form a central London borough.BOOK, London School of Economics, Memorandum of Evidence to The Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London, July 1959, Greater London Group, (File:Main Entrance Houghton Street, c1950s (4132808291).jpg|thumb|right|upright=0.8|The LSE Old Building in the 1950s, one of the places where the group had its offices)Robson kept the group going after the commission report, to study what happened next. By 1960, the group had, as one later account wrote, "earned a reputation as the leading centre for the study of London government".BOOK, Kochan, Ben, 2008, London government 50 years of debate: The contribution of LSE's Greater London Group, London School of Economics, George, Jones, The Greater London Group after 50 years, 15–22,weblink By 1963, it had more than a dozen members, who held a variety of views.BOOK,weblink Controlling London's Growth: Planning the Great Wen, 1940–1960, Donald L., Foley, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1963, 166, The group met every Monday afternoon to review and discuss papers or hear from visiting speakers. Its offices tended to move around a lot, but included a stint in LSE's Old Building.The group's members also were significantly overlapped with those of the Town and Country Planning Association, which in part added to the group's effectiveness.Indeed, the group has been recognised as having had a significant impact upon efforts to reform London government during the 1960s and upon the creation of the Greater London Council in 1965.NEWS,weblink NCC Control Needed, The Ottawa Citizen, 10 May 1965, 4,, Later members in the group included the likes of Jeffrey Jowell and Peter Hall. The group also had a number of research officers attached to it, who authored reports and some of whom, like Ken Young, went on to prominent academic careers of their own.


Robson was the main leader of the group until his death in 1980. Following that, the group was led by Self, and then after that, in a co-chair arrangement, by Derek Diamond and George W. Jones.WEB,weblink Emeritus Professor George Jones, Tony, Travers, London School of Economics, 19 April 2017, Diamond retired from the LSE and also stepped down as chair of the Group in 1995.Nancy Holman, "Derek Diamond", LSE Blogs (London School of Economics), 15 May 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2019. Later, the director of the group became Tony Travers, under whose leadership the group became more active and visible.

LSE London

During the 2000s, the group began to be subsumed under LSE London, a research centre in the Department of Geography that had been created in 1998. However, the Greater London Group was still recognised under its name in newspaper stories as late as 2009NEWS, Webb, Tim, Treasury set to bail out second recession-hit PFI, The Observer, 10 May 2009,weblink London, and 2010NEWS,weblink A well-heeled foot in the mouth, Sarah, Lyall, The New York Times News Service, Edmonton Journal, 28 March 2010, E4,, and 2012,NEWS,weblink Londoners Dread Traffic as City Plans Olympics, Sarah, Lyall, The New York Times, 28 May 2012, A5, and Travers continues to self-identify as its director as of 2018.NEWS, Northamptonshire's financial woes are just the tip of the iceberg,weblink Tony, Travers, The Guardian, 2 August 2018, However Travers' web page states that he is director of LSE LondonWEB,weblink Professor Tony Travers, London School of Economics, 26 January 2019, and the LSE London web page makes no mention of a Greater London Group.WEB,weblink LSE London, London School of Economics, 26 January 2019,


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