Here you can see a timeline of some key events in our history, and a film about our origins.
Principles and Practice
The School has adopted various working principles with the aim of protecting the integrity of its work and the welfare of its students.
All of our tutors are volunteers, giving their time willingly to pass on what they've learnt at the School. Meet some of them here. You can see some of our Tutors speaking about what they love about the role on our YouTube channel.
Stories, news, and views from affiliated schools around the world.
Art in Action
Art in Action was our annual arts festival, which celebrated 40 years in 2016.
Nine members of the Executive Committee (including the Principal and Treasurer) are elected each year at the AGM and are the Trustees of the Charity. In addition, in most years, the committee is strengthened by the addition of two or three co-opted members.
We have produced a short film about our history. View it here.
Publication of Progress and Poverty by Henry George (1839 – 1897)
Birth of the School's founder, Leon MacLaren
Henry George School of Economics founded (renamed the School of Economic Science in 1942)
First series of Philosophy courses are offered, developed from the teachings of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff
First overseas school established in Wellington
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visits the UK, bringing the next stage of development, meditation
First meeting of Leon MacLaren and Shri Shantananda Saraswati
Mr MacLaren passes away. Mr Donald Lambie succeeds him as School Leader
Death of Shri Shantananda Saraswati and first meeting with Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati
The 'free term' for Philosophy and Economics is offered for the first time, allowing even more people to experience the School's courses
Principles and Practice
The School has adopted various working principles with the aim of protecting the integrity of its work and the welfare of its students. These include the following:
The intent of the School is that everyone attending, however long or short their stay, will find something of value in their lives
All are welcome to sample what the School has to offer through the introductory courses, and to continue further with their studies if so inclined
All tutors, with the exception of the Senior Tutor, continue to be students of philosophy in the School
Tutors give their time for free
Course fees are used to enable the School to continue offering its courses to as many people as possible and are kept to a practical minimum. Fees do not cover capital expenditure, which is made possible by donations, loans and legacies from students with the means to contribute in this way
Students are asked not to indulge in criticism of others, but to practise tolerance and respect towards fellow students
The School is a registered educational charity, regulated by the Charity Commission in England and Wales and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland.
All matters relating to tutoring are led by the Senior Tutor, Donald Lambie. He decides the direction and content of course material and studies, deals with the appointment of tutors and other related issues.
On the organisational side, the legally constituted body is known as the Fellowship of the School of Economic Science. This is made up of some 240 students who become Fellowship members through a process of nomination and, if appropriate, formal acceptance.
Donald Lambie is our Senior Tutor and school leader. When the founder of the School of Economic Science Leon MacLaren died in 1994, he was succeeded by Mr Lambie, who was a barrister.
Sherry Moran is an American now living in London with her husband. She has been a student, and then a tutor, in SES for 35 years.
Sherry joined the philosophy school whilst living and working in New York. Her business career began in New York where she had several Wall Street positions. Sherry's work required a lot of travel and it was the London trips that enticed her to move there in 1989. London seemed the perfect place to fulfil her dream of being an entrepreneur. Since Sherry didn’t really understand the ‘dos and don’ts’ of the complex English culture, she was free to just pursue what was necessary to build her first business using her communications skillset from corporate America.
Today Sherry enjoys the culture, fashion and creativity of London. She organised the Ceramics section of SES’s Art in Action festival for 26 years. Sherry serves as a mentor to many young people starting out in business and is an active member of the London chapter of the Women’s President Organisation (WPO), a support organisation for woman who run substantial businesses.
Patrick Wyatt, originally from Kent, works as a successful jeweller in London’s historic Hatton Garden area. After a childhood interest in demolition, and a brief stint working in newspapers, Patrick came to work in Hatton Garden through a recommendation and has never looked back. Since 2001, he has run his own jewellery business which takes him all over the world. He particularly loves that the jewellery industry is based on trust and goodwill, and enjoys interacting with old and new customers.
Patrick currently tutors Practical Philosophy to students who have been attending courses at SES for more than a year. He says that his favourite part of being a tutor is the students, who inspire him as they overcome obstacles using Practical Philosophy in their everyday lives.
Patrick lives in London with his wife, an artist. He is a long-term student of the School and credits Practical Philosophy with helping him to live in the present.
Elina Grigoriou has been a student of Practical Philosophy since 2007. Born in Athens, Greece she moved to the UK in 1996 and currently lives in South West London. Professionally, after obtaining a BA(Hons) in Interior Design, she worked in commercial interior companies for 10 years before setting up her own business with her sister Angeliki, based in Bloomsbury, London.
Part of her professional life is also involved with championing a sustainable approach to design and supporting the wellbeing of occupants. In 2016 Elina was awarded Honorary lifetime membership of the RICS in recognition of her work with sustainability.
A fan of the outdoors and sports Elina spent two years as a professional basketball player, has run a marathon and recently swam the English Channel in a team relay. You will find her swimming in Hyde Park's Serpentine all through the year, or enjoying an art show at the Academy of Arts. Questions on life and purpose have been present since the early teenage years and through becoming a philosopher, she has been able to find answers and a structure to apply a healthy inquiry to living happily.
After leaving school Geoff was all set with a place lined-up at Glasgow University to read English and Philosophy. Although he enjoyed the first year there, the prospect of an apprenticeship-style position in London’s jewellery trade held more sway. He left university and never looked back.
Having an artistic background helped engage with the aesthetic nature of jewellery but the main draw of the work was to do with people. Geoff loved being a part of the all-but-hidden community of craftspeople in central London. Although a combination of part-time courses in jewellery design, diamond-grading and jewellery valuation helped, Geoff learnt mostly by asking questions. This informs his approach to practical philosophy too. To have real questions about life, and yourself, is tremendously valuable and he would say that it is essential to have a space to explore those questions with like-minded people. Meditation has been an integral part of life for him; having practiced since he was 10 years old he would say that some of his most profound experiences have come through it.
In his spare time Geoff enjoys playing capoeira and open-water swimming, particularly in winter when the bragging rites are enhanced by the cold. He is happiest when by the ocean, in the mountains, or on an adventure.
Insight connects students of philosophy from across the globe.
We are affiliated to schools of philosophy all over the world, from Israel to Argentina, Malta to Australia. Insight shares stories and experiences, news and views from students, speaking about their lives and interests, and how they apply practical philosophy to their lives.
Art in Action
Every July up to 400 artists, crafters, performers and musicians gathered together in Waterperry Gardens to demonstrate their skills and show their work. You could watch the potter pot, the painter paint and the sculptor sculpt. You could ask the masters of the arts of jewellery, textiles, woodwork and glassblowing about the secrets of their craft. In the ever popular Practical Classes section, you could have a go yourself at the art or craft of your choice with the guidance of an expert teacher.
In 1977, 51 artists and musicians took part in the first Art in Action and 14,000 visitors arrived. In 2016, Art in Action welcomed approximately 28,000 people over four days. Visitors came to learn, buy and enjoy the exhibitions, classes and performances.
In 2016 the decision was taken to end Art in Action in its current form. The plan is very much to develop Waterperry House and Gardens as a centre for the Arts,
Waterperry House is a residential centre for the School of Economic Science. The famous frescoes at Waterperry can be viewed via guided tour every Friday at 2pm. Visit the Waterperry Gardens website for more details.
Ian Mason - Principal
Ian Mason is a barrister practising in landlord and tenant law and property law. He has been an active student in the School since 1971 and led studies in law and economics for many years. Ian joined the Fellowship in 1981, was elected to the Executive Committee in 1996 and became Principal of the School in Great Britain and Chairman of the Fellowship and the Executive Committee in 2008.
Andrew Purves - Treasurer
Andrew Purves has worked in the furniture industry since gaining a degree in History and Politics from QMC, London. In 1992 he set up his own retail business, which he continues to operate. Andrew started studying in the School in 1981, and has a particular interest in Economics. He was elected to the Executive Committee in 2008. His first book 'No debt, High growth, Low tax' was published in 2015, and is an explanation of Hong Kong’s Economic Miracle.
Richard Glover - Hon. Secretary
Richard Glover has degrees in Electronics and Medical Physics. He has practised these in industry for 20 years, and then since 1992 as an independent consultant. Richard began studying in the School in the mid 1970s and is currently active in the economics faculty. He joined the Fellowship in 1989 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2007.
William Brook is a rights of light consultant based in London after having lived and worked abroad for several years. He began studying practical philosophy in the School in 1999 and has attended classes in Croydon, Brighton, Auckland New Zealand and London. He has also tutored practical philosophy in both New Zealand and Brighton. He joined the fellowship in 2012 and was elected the Executive Committee the same year. He also serves on the School’s communications committee.
Anthea Douglas has held various teaching posts both in the UK and overseas during a career spanning 42 years. She is now a tutor of Philosophy and Sanskrit within the School and is a founder member of Discantus, the School’s choir. Anthea began studying in the School in 1976 and after several years of being a member of the Fellowship, was recently co-opted on to the Executive Committee.
Ann Hithersay holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and has worked in the Voluntary Sector for more than 30 years, for some time as a Chief Executive. She became a student of the School in 1956, a member of the Fellowship in 1997, and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2007. Ann also chairs a working group looking into the needs of elderly members of the School.
Clive Meek has been a financial services professional for more than 25 years, in addition to a period of military service. His main focus in recent years has been on the investment needs of private individuals and charities. Education includes degrees in physics and economics. Clive has been closely connected with the School since the early 1980s and has been serving on the Executive Committee since the beginning of 2013.
Edward Saunders is a solicitor with a varied practice covering general commercial law, litigation and insolvency. He first attended philosophy classes in the School in 1988 and started studying economics in 1997. He now teaches economics within the School. He became a member of the School’s Fellowship in 2008 and was co-opted onto the Executive.
Hugh Venables has worked in the charity sector since 1990, including the Prince of Wales’s International Business Leaders Forum, the research and public education NGO Saferworld, and the international development charity Action Aid. He is currently Administrator of the Education Renaissance Trust. Before 1990 he worked in the oil industry. He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration. Hugh began studying in the School in 1965, became a member of the Fellowship in 1998 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2001.
Sue Young trained at The London College of Fashion moving on to run her own retail business for many years. She currently works freelance from her studio in north London. Sue also volunteers locally in a NHS Hospital, working in a Cardiac Ward and helping support patients and families with Dementia. Sue has been a student in the School since 1966, joining the Fellowship in the late 1990s and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2009.