HOME

TheInfoList




Martha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield, (née Potter; 22 January 1858 – 30 April 1943), was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, labour historian and social reformer. It was Webb who coined the term ''
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation Negotiation is a between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issu ...
''. She was among the founders of the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
and played a crucial role in forming the
Fabian Society The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that supports political democracy within a socially owned economy, wi ...
.


Early life

Beatrice Potter was born in
Standish House Standish may refer to: Places In England: * Standish, Greater Manchester, a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan * Standish-with-Langtree, a former urban district of Lancashire * Standish, Gloucestershire In the United States of America: ...
in the village of
Standish, Gloucestershire Standish is a small village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counti ...
, the last but one of the nine daughters of businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, a Liverpool merchant's daughter. Her paternal grandfather was
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties around the world. The meaning of ''liberal'' varies around the world, ranging from liberal conservatism on the right to social liberalism on the left. __TOC__ Active liberal parties This is a li ...
MP Richard Potter, co-founder of the ''
Little Circle The Little Circle was a Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or loc ...
'' which was key in creating the
Reform Act 1832 The Representation of the People Act 1832 (also known as the 1832 Reform Act, Great Reform Act or First Reform Act) was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body ...
. From an early age Beatrice was
self-taught Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education (also self-learning and self-teaching) is education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, b ...
and cited as important influences the cooperative movement and the philosopher
Herbert Spencer Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the functio ...

Herbert Spencer
. After her mother's death in 1882 she acted as a hostess and companion for her father. In 1882, she began a relationship with twice-widowed Radical politician
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an a ...

Joseph Chamberlain
, by then a
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
minister in Gladstone's second government. He would not accept her need for independence as a woman and after four years of "storm and stress" their relationship failed.''Diaries of Beatrice Webb'' (2000), New Year's Day, 1901, p. 244. Marriage in 1892 to
Sidney Webb Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield, (13 July 1859 – 13 October 1947) was a British socialist, economist and reformer, who co-founded the London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 189 ...

Sidney Webb
established a lifelong "partnership" of shared causes. At the beginning of 1901 Beatrice wrote that she and Sidney were "still on our honeymoon and every year makes our relationship more tender and complete". She and her husband were friends with the philosopher
Bertrand Russell Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose know ...
.


"My Creed and My Craft"

Beatrice Webb left unfinished a planned autobiography, under the general title ''My Creed and My Craft''. At her death, aged 85, the only autobiographical work she had published was ''My Apprenticeship'' (1926). The posthumously issued ''Our Partnership'' (1948) covered the first two decades of her marriage to Sidney Webb between 1892 and 1911 and their collaboration on a variety of public issues. In the preface to the second work, its editors refer to Webb's
desire to describe truthfully her lifelong pursuit of a living philosophy, her changes of outlook and ideas, her growing distrust of benevolent philanthropy as a means of redeeming 'poor suffering humanity' and her leaving of the field of abstract economic theory for the then practically unexplored paths of scientific social research.
In 1926 when Webb had begun to prepare the second volume, ''Our Partnership'', only to be repeatedly distracted by other more pressing commitments, the book's editors report her finding it difficult to express "her philosophy of life, her belief in the scientific method, but its purpose guided always by religious emotion."


A pioneer in social research and policy-making

One of Beatrice's older sisters,
Catherine Katherine, Catherine, and Catherina, other variations are feminine Given name, names. They are popular in Christian countries because of their derivation from the name of one of the first Christian saints, Catherine of Alexandria. The earliest ...
, became a well-known social worker. After Catherine married , Beatrice took over her work as a voluntary rent-collector in the model dwellings at
Katharine Buildings Katharine Buildings were model dwellings company, model dwellings in Cartwright Street, Aldgate, London, the first project of the philanthropy, philanthropically-motivated East End Dwellings Company. The block was built during 1884, and opened in 18 ...
,
Wapping Wapping () is a district in East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United King ...

Wapping
, operated by the
East End Dwellings Company The East End Dwellings Company was a Victorian architecture, Victorian philanthropic model dwellings company, operating in the East End of London in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The company was founded in principle in 1882 by, among o ...
. The young Beatrice also assisted her cousin by marriage Charles Booth in his pioneering survey of the Victorian slums of London, work which eventually became the massive 17-volume ''Life and Labour of the People of London'' (1902–1903). These experiences stimulated a critical attitude to current ideas of philanthropy. In 1890 Beatrice Potter was introduced to
Sidney Webb Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield, (13 July 1859 – 13 October 1947) was a British socialist, economist and reformer, who co-founded the London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 189 ...

Sidney Webb
, whose help she sought with her research. They married in 1892, and until her death 51 years later shared political and professional activities. When her father died in January 1892, leaving Potter an endowment of £1,000 pounds a year, she had a private income for life with which to support herself and the research projects she pursued. The Webbs became active members of the
Fabian Society The Fabian Society is a British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that supports political democracy within a socially owned economy, wi ...
. With the Fabians' support, Beatrice Webb co-authored books and pamphlets on socialism and the
co-operative movement The history of the cooperative movement concerns the origins and history of cooperatives across the world. Although cooperative arrangements, such as mutual insurance, and principles of cooperation existed long before, the cooperative movement bega ...
including ''The History of Trade Unionism'' (1894) and ''Industrial Democracy'' (1897). In 1895, the Fabians used part of an unexpected legacy of £10,000 from Henry Hutchinson, a solicitor from
Derby Derby ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority area in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent, Derbyshire, River Derwent in the south of Derbyshire, of which ...

Derby
, to found the
London School of Economics and Political Science , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
. After consulting Dr. for health problems, Webb became a
vegetarian Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and it may also include abstaining from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for v ...
in 1902 and shortly thereafter began a vegetarian salon for socialists. By 1908, she was a vice-president of the National Food Reform Association. Webb was a
lacto-vegetarian A lacto-vegetarian (sometimes referred to as a lactarian; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area aroun ...
, she described herself as an "anti-flesh-fish-egg-alcohol-coffee-and-sugar eater".


Contributions to the theory of the co-operative movement

Beatrice Webb made a number of important contributions to the political and
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
theory of the
co-operative movement The history of the cooperative movement concerns the origins and history of cooperatives across the world. Although cooperative arrangements, such as mutual insurance, and principles of cooperation existed long before, the cooperative movement bega ...
. In her 1891 book ''The Cooperative Movement in Great Britain'', based on her experiences in Lancashire, she distinguished between "co-operative federalism" and "co-operative individualism". She identified herself as a co-operative federalist, a school of thought which advocates
consumer co-operative A consumers' co-operative is an enterprise Enterprise (or the archaic spelling Enterprize) may refer to: Business and economics Brands and enterprises * Enterprise GP Holdings Enterprise GP Holdings was a midstream energy holding compan ...
societies. She argued that consumers' co-operatives should be set up as co-operative wholesale societies (by forming co-operatives in which all members are co-operatives, the best historical example being the English
Co-operative Wholesale Society Co-operative Group Limited, trading as Co-op, is a British consumer cooperative, consumer co-operative with a diverse family of retail businesses including food retail and wholesale; e-pharmacy; insurance services; legal services and funeral ...
) and that these federal co-operatives should then acquire farms or factories. Webb dismissed the idea of worker co-operatives where the people who did the work and benefited from it had some control over how it was organised, arguing that – at the time she was writing – such ventures had proved largely unsuccessful, at least in ushering in her form of socialism led by volunteer committees of people like herself. Examples of successful worker cooperatives did of course exist, then as now. In some professions they were the norm. However, the Webbs' final book, ''The Truth About Soviet Russia'' (1942), celebrated central planning. It was Webb who coined the term "
collective bargaining Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation Negotiation is a between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issu ...
".


1909 Minority report to Royal Commission

For four years Beatrice Webb was a member of the
Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress 1905-09 Royal may refer to: People * Royal (name)Royal can be a surname or a given name. Bearers include: Surname * Billy Joe Royal (1942–2015), American country music and pop singer * Calvin Royal III, American ballet dancer * Darrell Royal (1924 ...
. The Conservative government of established the Commission, which issued its final report to the
Liberal government Liberal government may refer to: Australia In Australian politics, a Liberal government may refer to the following governments administered by the Liberal Party of Australia: * Menzies Government (1949–66), several Australian ministries under S ...
of
H. H. Asquith Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, (12 September 1852 – 15 February 1928), generally known as H. H. Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liber ...
. Beatrice was lead author of the dissenting minority report. This sketched the outlines of a
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
which would
secure a national minimum of civilised life ... open to all alike, of both sexes and all classes, by which we meant sufficient nourishment and training when young, a living wage when able-bodied, treatment when sick, and modest but secure livelihood when disabled or aged.
William Beveridge William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge, (5 March 1879 – 16 March 1963) was a British economist and Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by c ...
, future author of the 1942
Beveridge Report The Beveridge Report, officially entitled ''Social Insurance and Allied Services'' (Cmd. 6404), is a government report, published in November 1942, influential in the founding of the welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in w ...
that introduced the welfare state in the United Kingdom, worked as a researcher for the Webbs on the Minority Report. He was later appointed director (1919–1937) of the London School of Economics.


Rivalries on the Left, 1901–1922

The influence of the Webbs on the Fabian Society and its policies were attacked by
H.G. Wells Hg is the symbol of chemical element Mercury_(element), mercury. Hg, hg, HG, inHg or "Hg may also refer to: Arts and media *H. G. Wells, English writer *House & Garden (magazine), ''House & Garden'' or ''HG'', a former US magazine *Harry G ...
. For a time he joined the Society but was critical of its cautious approach: "They permeate English society with their reputed Socialism about as much as a mouse may be said to permeate a cat". For her part, Beatrice voiced disapproval of Wells' "sordid intrigue" with the daughter of a veteran Fabian Sydney Olivier. He responded by lampooning the couple in his 1911 novel ''
The New Machiavelli ''The New Machiavelli'' is a 1911 novel by H. G. Wells that was serialised in ''The English Review'' in 1910. Because its plot notoriously derived from Wells's affair with Amber Reeves and satirised Beatrice Webb, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, it was ...
'' as Altiora and Oscar Bailey, a pair of short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators. Other rivals from the
left Left may refer to: Music * ''Left'' (Hope of the States album), 2006 * ''Left'' (Monkey House album), 2016 Direction * Left (direction) Body relative directions (also known as egocentric coordinates) are orientation (geometry), geometri ...
of the Fabian Society at that time were the
Guild Socialists Guild socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public". It originated in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom ...
led by the historian and economist G.D.H. Cole. Cole and his wife Margaret would later run the Fabian Research Bureau. In 1913, the Webbs and
Henry Devenish Harben Henry Devenish Harben (1874 – 18 May 1967) was a British people, British barrister and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Party politician who later joined the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party. He was a notable supporter of women's suffrage. Early life ...
, husband of suffragist and fellow Fabian,
Agnes Harben Agnes Helen Harben (née Bostock; 15 September 1879 – 29 October 1961) was a British Women's suffrage, suffragist leader who also supported the militant suffragette hunger strikers, and was a founder of the United Suffragists. Family and life ...
, co-founded the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations bet ...
'', a political weekly edited by
Clifford Sharp Clifford Dyce Sharp (1883–1935) was a British journalist. He was the first editor of the ''New Statesman'' magazine from its foundation in 1913 until 1928; a left-wing magazine founded by Sidney Webb, Sidney and Beatrice Webb and other members o ...
with contributions from many philosophers, economists and politicians of the day, including
George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range ...

George Bernard Shaw
and
John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a ...

John Maynard Keynes
. The Webbs became members of the
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
in late 1914. At the end of World War I Beatrice collaborated with her husband Sidney in his writings and policy statements such as ''Labour and the New Social Order'' (1918). She also campaigned for his successful election in 1922 to the parliamentary seat of coastal
Seaham Seaham is a seaside town in County Durham County Durham ( ) is a historic county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'' ...
, a mine-working community in
County Durham County Durham ( ) is a historic county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publishe ...
.


''Soviet Communism''

In 1928, the Webbs moved to
Liphook Liphook is a large village in the East Hampshire East Hampshire is a local government district The districts of England (also known as local authority districts or local government districts to distinguish from unofficial city districts) ...
in Hampshire, where they lived until their deaths in the 1940s. Soon Sidney was a minister in the new Labour government. Observing the wider world, Beatrice wrote of "Russian communism and Italian Fascism" as "two sides of the worship of force and the practice of cruel intolerance" and she was disturbed that "this spirit is creeping into the USA and even ... into Great Britain." The frustrations and disappointments of the next few years — the election of a narrow Labour majority of MPs in May 1929, the Great Depression which began later that year, the agreement of fellow Fabian
Ramsay MacDonald James Ramsay MacDonald (; 12 October 18669 November 1937) was the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or seco ...

Ramsay MacDonald
, after the October 1931 election, to form and head a National Government, thereby splitting the Labour Party — partly explain why Beatrice and Sidney began to look on the USSR and its leader Stalin with different eyes. In 1932, Webb was elected a
Fellow of the British Academy Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item desi ...
(FBA); she was the first woman elected to the fellowship. That year, Sidney and Beatrice, now in their 70s, spent two months from 21 May to late July in the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. Their views about the Soviet economic experiment were published three years later in a massive volume, over 1,000 pages in length, entitled ''Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation?'' (1935). Most of the text was written by Sidney Webb and based on copious study of publications and statistics provided by the Soviet embassy in London. In 1933 he made a further "fact-finding" trip to the USSR before publication, accompanied by their niece Barbara Drake, a prominent trade unionist and member of the Fabian Society, and by John Cripps, the son of their nephew
Stafford Cripps Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (24 April 1889 – 21 April 1952) was a British Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua ...
. Historians have criticised the Webbs for the naive supposition that the methods they had developed in analysing and formulating social policy in Britain could be applied to the Soviet Union. Their book promoted and encouraged an uncritical view of Stalin's conduct, during agrarian centralisation in the
first five year plan The first five-year plan (russian: I пятилетний план, ) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a list of economic goals, created by Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Communist Party General Secretary of the Communis ...
(1928–1933), the creation of the
gulag The Gulag, GULAG, or GULag (russian: ГУЛАГ, ГУЛаг, an acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by h ...

gulag
system, and the extensive purges of the 1930s. Trotskyist historian Al Richardson later described their 1935 account of the USSR as "pure Soviet propaganda at its most mendacious". There also seemed to be a conscious element of deception. In the third edition of ''Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation'' (1941), for instance, the Webbs voiced the opinion that in 1937 "strenuous efforts had been made, both in the trade union organisation and in the Communist Party, to cut out the dead wood". This phrase was used to reassure a wider public about the grotesque accusations against former leading Bolsheviks. In her diaries Beatrice did not hide her disquiet, at the opening of the
Moscow Trials The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against Trotskyism, Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There wer ...
in the summer of 1936, and after the conviction of
Nikolai Bukharin Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (russian: Никола́й Ива́нович Буха́рин) ( – 15 March 1938) was a Bolsheviks, Bolshevik Russian Revolution, revolutionary, Soviet Union, Soviet politician, Marxist philosopher and economist ...
in March 1938. ''Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?'' — in later editions the question mark was dropped, as was any public doubt the Webbs might have about the nature of the USSR — has since been roundly condemned. In the preface to an anthology of
Left Book Club The Left Book Club was a publishing group that exerted a strong left-wing influence in Great Britain from 1936 to 1948. Pioneered by Victor Gollancz Sir Victor Gollancz (; 9 April 1893 – 8 February 1967) was a British publisher and humanitar ...
publications, for instance, British historian
A. J. P. Taylor Alan John Percivale Taylor (25 March 1906 – 7 September 1990) was a British historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, ...
is quoted as calling ''Soviet Communism: A New Civilization'' "the most preposterous book ever written about Russia". In the early 1930s
Malcolm Muggeridge Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge (24 March 1903 – 14 November 1990) was an English journalist and satirist. His father, H. T. Muggeridge, was a prominent socialist politician and one of the early Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to ...

Malcolm Muggeridge
, one of Beatrice's own family by marriage, and himself the son of a Fabian, told her in no uncertain terms of his horrified disapproval of the Soviet system. She was among those listed in the German-compiled "Black Book".


Racism

Ivan Maisky Ivan Mikhailovich Maisky (also transliterated as "Maysky"; russian: Ива́н Миха́йлович Ма́йский) (19 January 1884 – 3 September 1975), a Soviet diplomat, historian and politician, served as the Soviet Union's Ambassad ...

Ivan Maisky
, the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
's
Ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A langua ...

Ambassador
to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
during much of the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, was friendly with Webb. In a conversation with Webb on 10 October 1939, Maisky quoted her as stating "Churchill is not a true Englishman, you know. He has Negro blood. You can tell even from his appearance."


Extended family

In 1929 Webb's husband,
Sidney Webb Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield, (13 July 1859 – 13 October 1947) was a British socialist, economist and reformer, who co-founded the London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 189 ...

Sidney Webb
, became Baron Passfield and a member of the House of Lords. Between 1929 and 1931 he served as
Secretary of State for the Colonies The secretary of state for the colonies or colonial secretary was the British Cabinet The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is a group of the most senior ministers of the crown in the government of the United Kingdom The Government of ...
and Secretary of State for the Dominions in Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government. Beatrice did not refer to herself as Lady Passfield or expect others to do so. Sidney and Beatrice Webb never had any children. In retirement, Beatrice would reflect on the success of their other progeny. For instance, in 1895 they had founded the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
with
Graham Wallas Graham Wallas (31 May 1858 – 9 August 1932) was an English Socialism, socialist, social psychologist, educationalist, a leader of the Fabian Society and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Biography Born in Monkwearmouth, Sunderla ...

Graham Wallas
and George Bernard Shaw:
In old age it is one of the minor satisfactions of life to watch the success of your children, literal children or symbolic. The London School of Economics is undoubtedly our most famous one; but the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations bet ...
'' is also creditable – it is the most successful of the general weeklies, actually making a profit on its 25,000 readers, and has absorbed two of its rivals, ''The Nation'' and the ''Week-End Review''.
Meanwhile, the connections by marriage of their numerous nieces and nephews made Beatrice and Sidney part of the emerging new Labour establishment. Beatrice's nephew
Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (24 April 1889 – 21 April 1952) was a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician, barrister, and diplomat. A wealthy lawyer by background, he first entered Parliament at a 1931 Bristol East by-election, by- ...
, son of her sister Theresa, became a well-known Labour politician in the 1930s and 1940s. He served as British ambassador to Moscow during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
and later as
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
under
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
. (His daughter Peggy went on to marry Nana
Joe Appiah Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, MP ( ; 16 November, 1918 – 8 July, 1990)Eric Pace"Joe Appiah Is Dead; Ghanaian Politician And Ex-Envoy, 71" ''New York Times'', July 12, 1990. was a Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country i ...
, an African statesman and tribal
chieftain A tribal chief or chieftain is the leader of a tribal society The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, chara ...

chieftain
who served as something of a
founding father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e. ...
of the
Republic of Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It spans the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with the Ivory Coast in Ghana–Ivory Coast border, the west, Burkina Faso in Burkina Fa ...
.) Margaret, yet another Potter sister, married the Liberal politician Henry Hobhouse, making Beatrice Webb an aunt of peace activist
Stephen Henry Hobhouse Stephen Henry Hobhouse (5 August 1881 – 2 April 1961) was a prominent English peace activist, prison reformer, and religious writer. Family Stephen Henry Hobhouse was born in Pitcombe, Somerset, England. He was the eldest son of Henry Hobh ...
and of Liberal politician
Arthur Hobhouse Sir Arthur Lawrence Hobhouse (15 February 1886 – 20 January 1965) was a long-serving English local government Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician, who is best remembered as the architect of the system of national parks of England and Wale ...
. Another sister, Blanche, married surgeon
William Harrison Cripps William Harrison Cripps (born West Ilsley, Berkshire, 15 January 1850; died London, 8 November 1923) was a prominent British surgeon. He was particularly noted for his expertise on cancer of the rectum. Early life Cripps was the second son of Julia ...
, brother to Theresa's husband
Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor Charles Alfred Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor, (3 October 1852 – 30 June 1941) was a politics of the United Kingdom, British politician who crossing the floor, crossed the floor from the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative to the Labour Party ...
. The Cripps family was a wealthy political family, originally from
Cirencester Cirencester (, ; see #Pronunciation, below for more variations) is a market town in Gloucestershire, England, west of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold (distr ...
. A dissonant voice entered the family after Katherine Dobbs, the daughter of Beatrice's youngest sister Rosalind, married the journalist
Malcolm Muggeridge Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge (24 March 1903 – 14 November 1990) was an English journalist and satirist. His father, H. T. Muggeridge, was a prominent socialist politician and one of the early Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to ...

Malcolm Muggeridge
. In the early 1930s the young couple moved to Moscow, full of enthusiasm for the new Soviet system. Muggeridge's experience of reporting from the Soviet Union for the ''
Manchester Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers '' The Observer'' and '' The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the G ...
'', however, made him highly critical of the Webbs' optimistic views of the Soviet Union. On 29 March 1933 Beatrice referred in her diary to "Malcolm's curiously hysterical denunciation of the USSR and all its works in a letter to me...." The following day she noted that the ''
Guardian Guardian or The Guardian may refer to: * Legal guardian A legal guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court or otherwise has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of anothe ...

Guardian
'' had printed "another account of famine in Russia, which certainly bears out Malcolm's reports". Yet, wrote Muggeridge, Beatrice "went on wanting to see
Kitty Kitty or Kittie may refer to: Animals * Cat, a small, domesticated carnivorous mammal ** Kitten, a young cat Film * Kitty Films, an anime production company in Japan * Kitty (1929 film), ''Kitty'' (1929 film), based on the Deeping novel; the fir ...
and me". On their last visit Beatrice showed her niece's husband a portrait of Lenin: "She had set the picture up as though it were a Velazquez, with special lighting coming from below".


Death and legacy

When Beatrice Webb died in 1943, she was cremated at
Woking Crematorium Woking Crematorium is a crematorium in Woking, a large town in the west of Surrey, England. Established in 1878, it was the first custom-built crematorium in the United Kingdom and is closely linked to the history of cremation in the UK. Locat ...
. The casket containing her ashes was buried in the garden of their house in Passfield Corner, as she had requested. Lord Passfield's ashes were also buried there when he died four years later. Shortly afterwards, the nonagenarian
George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range ...

George Bernard Shaw
launched an ultimately successful
petition A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English' ...

petition
to have the remains of both moved to
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes ...

Westminster Abbey
. They now lie buried in the
nave The nave () is the central part of a church architecture, church, stretching from the (normally western) main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains Aisle#Church archit ...

nave
of the Abbey, close to the ashes of their Labour Party colleagues
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
and
Ernest Bevin Ernest Bevin (9 March 1881 – 14 April 1951) was a British statesman, trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve ...

Ernest Bevin
. Beatrice did not live to see the
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
set up by the post-war Labour government. It was an enduring monument to her research and campaigning, before and after she married Sidney Webb. First outlined in the
Minority report (Poor Law)The Minority report was one of two reports published by the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress 1905–1909, the other being Majority report. Headed by the Fabian socialist Beatrice Webb, it called for a system that was radica ...
of 1909, it would remain substantially intact until the 1980s. It is not certain that Beatrice Webb would have approved of the manner of its implementation and future management. As her niece Kitty commented:Kitty Muggeridge & Ruth Adams, ''Beatrice Webb: A life, 1858-1943'', London: Secker & Warburg, 1967, p. 177.
... although it was Beatrice herself who put the 20th-century ''zeitgeist'' into its most concrete form, in the Welfare State, something in her remained sturdily Victorian to the very end. "What has to be aimed at is not this or that improvement in material circumstances or physical comfort but an improvement in personal character," she wrote. She believed that citizens who were given benefits by the community ought to make an effort to improve themselves, or at least submit themselves to those who would improve them.


Archives

Beatrice Webb's papers, including he
diaries
form part of th
Passfield archive
at the London School of Economics. The Webb Diaries are now digitised and availabl
online
at the
LSE LSE may refer to: Computing * LSE (programming language) LSE (french: Langage symbolique d'enseignement) is a programming language developed at Supélec and Schneider Electric, Télémécanique from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s."La Saga du ...
's Digital Library. Posts about Beatrice Webb regularly appear in the LSE Archives blog
Out of the box.


Writings

For a comprehensive bibliography, se
Webbs on the Web
hosted by the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
.


Works by Beatrice Webb

*
The Co-Operative Movement in Great Britain
' (1891) *
Women and the Factory Acts
' (1896) *
The Abolition of the Poor Law
' (1918) *''Wages of Men and Women: Should they be Equal?'' (1919) *''My Apprenticeship'' (1926) *
A new Reform Bill
' (1931) *''Our Partnership by Beatrice Webb'' (1948), Longmans, Green & Co: London, New York, edited by Barbara Drake & Margaret Cole at the request of Sidney Webb. Covers the period from 1892 up to 1911. *"The Diary of Beatrice Webb, 1873–1943", complete typescript and manuscript on microfiche, and ''Index to the Diary of Beatrice Webb 1873-1943'' with preface by Matthew Anderson, "The text of the Diary" by Geoffrey Allen, "Historical Introduction" by Dame Margaret Cole DBE, "The Diary as Literature" by Norman Mackenzie, Chronology. (1978), Chadwyck-Healey Ltd. Bishops Stortford *''The Diaries of Beatrice Webb'' (2000), selected entries edited by Norman and Jeanne Mackenzie and abridged by Lynn Knight. Published by Virago in conjunction with the LSE: London. Covers period from 1873 to 1943; the diaries are also available in typescript and manuscript facsimile a
LSE digital library, Beatrice Webb's diaries


Works by Beatrice and Sidney Webb

*''
History of Trade Unionism ''The History of Trade Unionism'' (1894, new edition 1920) is a book by Sidney and Beatrice Webb on the Trade unions in the United Kingdom, British trade union movement's development before 1920. Outline First published in 1894, it is a detailed a ...
'' (1894) *''
Industrial Democracy Industrial democracy is an arrangement which involves workers making decisions, sharing responsibility and authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, ...
'' (1897); translated into Russian by Lenin as ''The Theory and Practice of British Trade Unionism'', St Petersburg, 1900. *''The Webbs' Australian Diary'' (1898) *'' English Local Government Vol. I-X'' (1906 through 1929) *''The Manor and the Borough'' (1908) *''The Break-Up of the Poor Law'' (1909) *''English Poor-Law Policy'' (1910) *''The Cooperative Movement'' (1914) *''Works Manager Today'' (1917) *''The Consumer's Cooperative Movement'' (1921) *''Decay of Capitalist Civilization'' (1923) *''Methods of Social Study'' (1932) *''Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?'' (193
Vol IVol II
1st edn. The 2nd and 3rd editions of 1938 and 1941, respectively, dropped the "?" from the title) *''The Truth About Soviet Russia'' (1942). The introduction to ''Soviet Communism'' (1941), reprinted as a brochure with a preface about the Webbs by
George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemic Polemic () is contentious rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range ...

George Bernard Shaw
, and the text of the 1936 Soviet Constitution, translated by
Anna Louise Strong Anna Louise Strong (November 24, 1885 – March 29, 1970) was an American journalist and activist, best known for her reporting on and support for Communism, communist movements in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China.Archives West ...
.


See also

*
Feminist economics Feminist economics is the critical study of economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant ...
*
List of feminist economists This is an incomplete alphabetical list by surname of notable feminist economics, feminist economists, experts in the social science of feminist economics, past and present. Only economists with biographical articles in Wikipedia are listed here ...


References

Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time, Volume 1, ''The Green Stick'', pp. 206–210, Collins 1972


External links

*
Spartacus Educational
*




The Webb Diaries full digital versions

The Webbs on the Web bibliography
* *
Great Thinkers: Jose Harris FBA on Beatrice Webb FBA
podcast, The British Academy {{DEFAULTSORT:Webb, Beatrice English economists English sociologists 1858 births 1943 deaths British reformers British social reformers English suffragists English socialists English women writers Feminist economists Socialist feminists British women economists British women sociologists Cooperative organizers Labor historians Members of the Fabian Society People associated with the London School of Economics People from Gloucester Potter family Presidents of the Fabian Society Western writers about Soviet Russia Burials at Westminster Abbey 19th-century British scientists 20th-century British scientists 19th-century English writers 20th-century English writers 20th-century English women writers 19th-century English women writers Fellows of the British Academy British baronesses National Council of Women of Great Britain members Vegetarianism activists