Webb, Beatrice ___ 1858-1943 ___ British ___ reformer, writer
Beatrice, the eighth daughter of industrialist Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, was born in Gloucestershire. Although she enjoyed little formal schooling she read widely and talked to her father's visitors, one of whom was Herbert Spencer. A liaison with the statesman Joseph Chamberlain, who was much older than she, failed to develop, and when it broke down, she joined a charity to help those living in poverty. For a while she worked as a researcher for her cousin Charles Booth, a social reformer. In 1891, she published a small book, 'The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain', which later became a classic. While working on the book she met Sidney Webb, and they married in 1892. Beatrice's inheritance of a £1,000 a year enabled Sidney to give up his civil service job. They set up house in London together, and subsequently wrote a number of important books such as 'The History of Trade Unionism' and 'Industrial Democracy'. In 1894, the Fabian Society, in which the Webbs were important figures, was left £10,000, which they used to help found The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 1895. In 1898, the Webbs travelled to North America, Australia and New Zealand; thereafter, they spent many years researching and publishing 11 volumes of 'English Local Government'. In 1900, the Fabian Society joined with other parties to form the Labour Representation Committee, which won two seats in the House of Commons. The Webbs were responsible for drafting the 1902 Education Act; and Beatrice served as a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, producing an important minority report. In 1913, they launched the 'New Statesman' magazine, and, a year later, they joined the Labour Party. Sydney, in particular, rose to high office. When he was made Baron Passfield, Beatrice refused the title Lady Passfield. In the 1930s, after their retirement to Hampshire, they visited the USSR, and then spent three years writing 'Soviet Communism: a new Civilisation?'.
A biography link
The Diary Review - Webbs on the web
DIARY DATES, CONTENT DESCRIPTORS
1873-1943 ___ political social travel people education US India Russia Australia
WEB TEXT LINKS
one longish extract
much about and etexts
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LINKS
London School of Economics Library, Archives Division
SOME PUBLISHED TITLES
The Diaries of Beatrice Webb
The Diary of Beatrice Webb
May 2005, August 2008, April 2013
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IMPORTANT NOTES AND CAUTIONS: 1) The first line of basic information may be incomplete in several ways: some historical figures have different names (titles, pen-names); their birth and death dates may be unknown or uncertain (g - guess, c - circa); similarly, their occupations may be unknown, or they may have had other jobs; and, for early diarists, I've used 'British' a bit too freely. 2) The biographical summary may not be accurate. It was compiled quickly from various sources, mostly on the internet, and the facts were not checked anywhere near as rigorously as they would have been if they'd been intended for publication in a printed form. 3) The journal dates and descriptors (which are in no particular order) must be treated with caution: since I have not examined the diaries myself, the descriptors are only guesses based on bibliographies, anthologies and internet biographies. 4) For the biography and etext links, I have ignored any sites with charges, and I have avoided, wherever possible, those with pop-ups or too much advertising. I have limited myself to providing three etext links where there is some variety between them. 5) For the original manuscript links, I have limited myself to providing a maximum of two (although, for a few diarists, their original diaries are held in more than two places). 6) I have provided the titles - chosen randomly - for up to three printed editions of the diaries.