LSE’s rivalries with other universities date back to the early twentieth century, and have lived through famous academic debates with Cambridge in the 30s, “ragging” and mascot stealing in the 50s and 60s and again in the 80s, light hearted AU disputes in the 90s, and even an attack on the Three Tuns in 2002. Today, they are expressed online as insults on LSELove.
As universities entered the era of “ragging,” the LSE faced an internal debate as to whether or not to participate in such demonstrations, dominated mainly by King’s College London and University College London, who have been rivals since King’s was founded in the 1820s.
Many at the LSE disagreed with the practice of ragging, ridiculing rival universities who participated in it. In a January 1953 edition of The Beaver, a student mocked the behavior of “those who inhabit that prison-like building in the Strand, known as King’s College” parading and chanting loudly on the streets with their mascot.
In November 1962 the wooden carved beaver mascot was stolen (below) from the Porter’s Lodge by two unknown girls. At the time, there were rumors that rival schools had sent the mascot to President Eisenhower or Lord Beaverbrook in Jamaica, and the LSE students were determined to restore it to the LSE. Once again in 1983, King’s students stole the mascot from LSE.
More than 30 years later, the rivalry is reflected in headlines announcing football match results in The Beaver with King’s referred to as “Strand Polypathetic” after a 6-0 loss to the LSE’s 3rd football team in 1997. The same edition reports on the LSE’s 4th team 7-0 win and the story reads “easy victory over the fat, greasy, medical students of UCL.”
Even losses were opportunities for insulting headlines such as “LSE Fall to Imperialist Scum” published in November 1998. Wins motivated even more provocative match descriptions such as “the ritual humiliation of a hapless Imperial side, with them suffering what can only be described as DICKING of truly great proportions” published in the same year.
On February 6 2002, this light hearted AU rivalry was taken to another level when a small group of King’s students invaded the Three Tuns with eggs, flour and stink bombs and launched an attack ending in police arrests and Tuns being closed for the day.
It’s hard to imagine that not so long ago, disputes with rivals went beyond LSELove posts such as “added up the price of our takeaway and accidentally got a maths degree from King’s.”