Institute of Historical Research



It would be sixteen years before any decisive steps were taken towards realising Pollard’s vision. In 1919, on the recommendation of the minister of education, a joint committee was set up by UCL, King’s College London and the LSE to consider the way forward. On 12 February 1920 this committee proposed establishing a centre for Advanced Historical Studies. The next step would be the launching of an appeal, with a goal of raising £20,000.



A donors’ dinner was held at the Athenaeum to drum up support

Appeal Committee

Many of the methods used to raise the required funding would be familiar to a modern-day university development office. An appeal committee, composed of the great and the good, was set up and the appeal was launched with a series of letters from its chair, the lord mayor of London, and the vice-chancellor of the University of London.


Seating plan for the donors’ dinner at the Athenaeum, 30 June 1920. ‘Mr Power’, sixth from the right at the top of the plan, would prove to be a very significant figure in the history of the Institute.

A successful appeal?

In many ways, the appeal was not particularly successful. Contributions from named individuals, listed in an introductory booklet, only amounted to £4006 4s. However, an anonymous donor (later named as Cecil Power), apparently inspired by the words of the minister of education Herbert Fisher at the original Athenaeum gathering, contributed the full £20,000 needed to open the Institute.






List of benefactors from introductory booklet
 List of donors to the library