31 Facts About Beatrice Webb


Martha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield, was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, labour historian and social reformer.


Beatrice Webb was among the founders of the London School of Economics and played a crucial role in forming the Fabian Society.


Beatrice Webb was the youngest of nine daughters of the businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, a Liverpool merchant's daughter; Laurencina was friends for a time with the prolific Victorian novelist Margaret Oliphant during the 1840s.


Beatrice Webb's sisters were Rose Potter, Blanche Potter, Lallie Potter, Maggie Potter, Kate Potter, Mary Potter, Georgie Potter, and Theresa Potter.


Beatrice Webb had to face tragedies with her sisters as one of her sister, Blanche, committed suicide in 1905 in her own house.


Yet, Beatrice Webb struggled with this idea because of her beliefs of gender roles and equalities.


Beatrice Webb freely acknowledged male mental superiority and agreed with Spencer that women's education needed, above all, to include instruction in household duties.


Beatrice Webb believed that a woman needed definite home duties to fulfill and someone to be dependent on her love and care.


From an early age Beatrice Webb was self-taught and cited as important influences the cooperative movement and the philosopher Herbert Spencer.


Marriage in 1892 to Sidney Beatrice Webb established a lifelong "partnership" of shared causes.


Beatrice Webb left a unfinished autobiography, under the general title My Creed and My Craft.


The young Beatrice Webb 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.


In 1890 Beatrice Potter was introduced to Sidney Webb, whose help she sought with her research.


Beatrice Webb made a number of important contributions to the political and economic theory of the co-operative movement.


Beatrice Webb identified herself as a co-operative federalist, a school of thought which advocates consumer co-operative societies.


Beatrice Webb argued that consumers' co-operatives should be set up as co-operative wholesale societies and that these federal co-operatives should then acquire farms or factories.


Beatrice Webb was the lead author of the dissenting minority report.


Beatrice Webb was later appointed director of the London School of Economics.


Beatrice Webb responded by lampooning the couple in his 1911 novel The New Machiavelli as Altiora and Oscar Bailey, a pair of short-sighted, bourgeois manipulators.


Beatrice Webb campaigned for his successful election in 1922 to the parliamentary seat of coastal Seaham, a mine-working community in County Durham.


In 1932, Beatrice Webb was elected a Fellow of the British Academy ; she was the first woman elected to the fellowship.


Beatrice Webb was among those listed in the German-compiled "Black Book".


Beatrice Webb did not refer to herself as Lady Passfield or expect others to do so.


In retirement, Beatrice Webb would reflect on the success of their other progeny.


Beatrice Webb served as British ambassador to Moscow during the Second World War and later as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Clement Attlee.


When Beatrice Webb died in 1943, she was cremated at Woking Crematorium.


Beatrice Webb did not live to see the welfare state set up by the post-war Labour government.


Beatrice Webb 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.


Beatrice Webb's papers, including her diaries, form part of the Passfield archive at the London School of Economics.


The Beatrice Webb Diaries are now digitised and available online at the LSE's Digital Library.


Posts about Beatrice Webb regularly appear in the LSE Archives blog, Out of the box.