Leonardo da Vinci MacLaren (LM) was born in Glasgow on 24th September 1910. He was the son of Andrew MacLaren, a Labour Member of Parliament and a staunch advocate of Henry George, the American economist. His father was a great influence on his life and Leon MacLaren followed him in his economic and political aspirations.
Apart from his interests in politics, economics and the Law, he followed the sound of his heart to start a ‘School’, not knowing what this meant, but something “in the manner of Socrates.” As a young man of 16 he had made the following observation:
“It became very clear to me that there was such a thing as Truth and there was such a thing as Justice and that they could be found and being found, could be taught. It seemed to me that that was the most valuable thing one could pursue.” He spent the rest of his life pursuing this aim.
Leon MacLaren began by giving public lectures on Economics together with a group of equally inspired friends and with the help of his father, the School of Economic Science was established in 1937. He wrote a book The Nature of Society, setting out the principles which were taught in the School.
In 1938 he was called to the bar and practised in Chambers at 2 Paper Buildings in the Inner Temple, where he was renowned as a brilliant advocate and he might have been a judge had not other interests taken his time and energy.
He turned his mind to politics, being nominated as Labour candidate for Epping where Winston Churchill was the sitting member but withdrew before the 1950 election. He then stood as a Liberal for Yeovil and also in Hendon South in 1951 without any success in either constituency.
He married twice and had two daughters from his first marriage.
For some years Leon MacLaren lived in Hammersmith and later divided his time between properties owned by the School in Hampstead and in Oxfordshire. From the early 70’s until his death in 1994, Leon MacLaren spent three months of the year traveling round the world visiting the affiliated Schools.