From Finsbury Circus to Senate House

By |January 30, 2015|1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s|19 comments

SOAS, University of London was founded as the School of Oriental Studies in 1917 and was based at Finsbury Circus. In 1938 it officially became the School of Oriental and African Studies and was based in Vandon House, St James’ Park. The School then moved temporarily to Cambridge during the Second World War.

With next year’s opening of Senate House North Block due to usher in a new era, images of the School’s journey over the past century can be seen below.

A competition drawing showing the Rotunda for an Observatory for No.2 Finsbury Circus, 1916. (SOAS Archive: SOAS/SPA/1/021)

The hallway inside No.2 Finsbury Circus, 1917.

The first School library located at Finsbury Circus, 1917. (SOAS Archive: SOAS/SPA/1/009)

Christ's College, Cambridge where the School was forced to move to at the start of WWII, 1939.

The College Building, Russell Square, 1960. (SOAS Archive: SOAS/SPA/1/22)

The Vernon Square campus, 2014

Can you provide a piece of SOAS history? Whether you completed your PhD here, were one of the first students to study a particular discipline or have seen the School evolve over the years, submit your story to to be featured on this blog.

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