Beatrice and Sidney Webb

Webb, Beatrice Potter

Beatrice Potter Webb, 1858–1943, English socialist economist; daughter of a wealthy industrialist. She took an early interest in social problems and worked with Charles Booth on his survey of working life in London. Her Cooperative Movement in Great Britain was published in 1891. In 1892 she married Sidney James Webb, 1859–1947, a civil servant and a contributor to Fabian Essays (1890). Thereafter they worked together, complementing each other's qualities in an unusual partnership. They were of first importance in the Fabian Society, in the building up of the British Labour party, and in the creation (1895) of the London School of Economics. In 1913 they founded the New Statesman. Most of the political and social reforms of their period owe much to their indefatigable research and political acumen. Together they produced The History of Trade Unionism (1894; rev. ed. 1920), Industrial Democracy (1897), English Local Government (9 vol., 1906–29), Consumers' Cooperative Movement (1921), and Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (2 vol., 1935). In 1922 Sidney Webb was elected to Parliament. He was president of the board of trade in the 1924 Labour government and secretary for the colonies from 1929 to 1931. In 1929 he was created Baron Passfield, a title his wife refused to share.

See Beatrice Webb's autobiographical My Apprenticeship (1926) and Our Partnership (1948); her diaries (ed. by M. I. Cole, 2 vol., 1952–56); biographies by M. I. Cole (1945) and K. Muggeridge and R. Adam (1968); M. I. Cole, ed. The Webbs and Their Work (1949).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2016, The Columbia University Press.

Beatrice and Sidney Webb: Selected full-text books and articles

The Webbs and Soviet Communism By Kevin Morgan Lawrence & Wishart, 2006
My Apprenticeship By Beatrice Webb Penguin Books Limited, 1938
The Apprenticeship of Beatrice Webb By Deborah Epstein Nord University of Massachusetts Press, 1985
Beatrice Webb By Margaret Cole Harcourt Brace and Company, 1946
The Webbs and Their Work By Margaret Cole F. Muller, 1949
Beatrice Webb's Diaries, 1912-1924 By Beatrice Webb; Margaret I. Cole Longmans, Green and Co Ltd, 1952
A Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain By Sidney Webb; Beatrice Webb Longmans Green and Co., 1920
From Belloc to Churchill: Private Scholars, Public Culture, and the Crisis of British Liberalism, 1900-1939 By Victor Feske University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Sidney & Beatrice Webb: A New Form of Public History"
The Story of Fabian Socialism By Margaret Cole Stanford University Press, 1961
FREE! The History of Trade Unionism By Sidney Webb; Beatrice Webb Longmans, Green and Co., 1902 (5th edition)
George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century By Archibald Henderson Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1956
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