Beatrice Webb

Standard Name: Webb, Beatrice
Birth Name: Beatrice Potter
Married Name: Beatrice Webb
Indexed Name: Mrs Sidney Webb
Titled: Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield
An important and forceful left-wing intellectual (a shaper both of the Fabian Society and of the Labour Party ), BW wrote at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century. Her subjects were social issues: for instance, unemployment, and the development of the co-operative movement and of trade unions. She was also (and from the same public-spirited motives) remarkable as a diarist and autobiographer. Almost all her writing on public topics (nearly forty publications, including eighteen monographs) was done in collaboration with her husband, Sidney Webb . So thoroughly are they thought of as one mind that joint biographies of them are more common than individual ones.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Cultural formation Amber Reeves
Born a New Zealander, she clearly regarded herself later in life as English. Her parents were highly educated professionals. Her mother was a suffragist, and both parents became members of the Fabian Society (founded three...
Education Margaret Harkness
MH was educated at home throughout her childhood. When she was twenty-one, she was sent to board at a fashionable girls' school
Nord, Deborah Epstein. The Apprenticeship of Beatrice Webb. University of Massachusetts Press.
, Stirling House in Bournemouth, to be finished. Here she...
Education Emma Frances Brooke
The school, which was founded this year by Beatrice and Sidney Webb , Graham Wallas , and George Bernard Shaw , focused on the study of inequalities and poverty issues with the aim of improving...
Education Dorothy Bussy
Marie Souvestre was a free-thinking feminist, daughter of the French author and philosopher Emile Souvestre . Her school, Les Ruches, was widely admired for its academic rigour. It educated many outstanding women, including Beatrice Chamberlain
Family and Intimate relationships Constance Lytton
Constance Lytton's elder sister, Elizabeth Edith (later Countess of Balfour) , became a novelist and a good friend of Beatrice Webb .
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
under Elizabeth Edith Balfour
As Betty Balfour she published a popular account of...
Family and Intimate relationships Bessie Rayner Parkes
According to her daughter, BRP received a proposal of marriage from the much older Richard Potter (who was a business friend of her father's, and himself the father of the future Beatrice Webb ) after...
Family and Intimate relationships Amber Reeves
AR 's time at the London School of Economics was ended when she became pregnant as a result of a sexual liaison with H. G. Wells , which had begun while she was at Cambridge...
Family and Intimate relationships Margaret Harkness
MH 's mother, Elizabeth Seddon Bolton Toswill Harkness , had been married and widowed before. She was the daughter of William Seddon , a Leicestershire lace-maker. Through her, Margaret was related to the Potter family...
Family and Intimate relationships Margaret Harkness
An undated letter to Beatrice Webb further suggests that MH had an affair with an unknown married man.
Bellamy, Joyce M., and John Saville, editors. Dictionary of Labour Biography. Macmillan.
viii: 110
Fictionalization Amber Reeves
After the appearance of her first three novels, two critics gave AR a significant place in accounts of the current state of fiction. R. Brimley Johnson characterised her as a sex-explorer, free from either...
Friends, Associates Katharine Bruce Glasier
Her involvement in socialist circles led her to acquaintance with Sidney and Beatrice Webb , Edward Hulton (editor of the Sunday Chronicle), and Robert Blatchford , for whom she wrote several articles.
Thompson, Laurence. The Enthusiasts. Victor Gollancz Limited.
Friends, Associates Amabel Williams-Ellis
Her political activities kept AWE at the centre of London's socially-conscious literary circles. Guests at The Well of Loneliness tea-party included Virginia Woolf , Rose Macaulay , Vita Sackville-West , G. B. Shaw , and...
Friends, Associates Mary Agnes Hamilton
MAH knew and worked closely with the Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald , though her early intense admiration for him diminished with time. Up to the year after publishing her book on him (which was also...
Friends, Associates Amber Reeves
AR 's parents' circle of friends quickly grew to include most of the Fabians: Beatrice and Sidney Webb , Edith Nesbit and her husband Hubert Bland , George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells .
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
under William Pember Reeves
Friends, Associates Margaret Harkness
MH quarrelled with her second cousin Beatrice Potter (later Beatrice Webb ), who up to now had been her close friend; their relationship never fully recovered.
Blain, Virginia et al., editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford.
Mitchell, Sally, editor. Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia. Garland Press.


January 1884: The Fabian Society was founded in London...

National or international item

January 1884

The Fabian Society was founded in London to publicize socialist ideas and investigate the application of socialist principles to British conditions.

12 August 1889: The London Dock Strike began; it aroused...

National or international item

12 August 1889

The London Dock Strike began; it aroused widespread sympathy for striking dockers.

March 1906: A company was set up, largely through the...

Building item

March 1906

A company was set up, largely through the efforts of Henrietta Barnett , for the development of Hampstead Garden Suburb just north of London, as a community including people of all classes and income levels.

13 August 1912: Octavia Hill, housing advocate and one-time...

Building item

13 August 1912

Octavia Hill , housing advocate and one-time friend of John Ruskin , died of cancer in her home at 190 Marylebone Road, London.

December 1927: Nancy Hewins opened the first production...

Building item

December 1927

Nancy Hewins opened the first production by her touring Osiris Players , Britain's first professional all-female theatre company (successor to the amateur Isis Players , which she had run as an Oxford undergraduate).

1928: Members of the British Federation of University...

Building item


Members of the British Federation of University Women (later known as the British Federation of Women Graduates ) established the Sybil Campbell Libraryfor the study of the expansion of the role of women in recent generations.

Late July 1931: In Britain the confusingly-named May committee...

National or international item

Late July 1931

In Britain the confusingly-named May committee responded to escalation both in the international financial crisis and mass unemployment at home, by advising draconian cuts in government expenditure.

30 July 1932: The Independent Labour Party, increasingly...

National or international item

30 July 1932

The Independent Labour Party , increasingly disillusioned with the Labour Party 's movement towards the centre, took a decision to disaffiliate from its own larger and more successful offspring.

26 July 1945: The postwar general election put the Labour...

National or international item

26 July 1945

The postwar general election put the Labour Party in power with a landslide victory. Clement Attlee became Prime Minister; prominent in his Cabinet were Herbert Morrison , Ernest Bevin , Hugh Dalton , and Sir...


Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. A Constitution for the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain. Longmans, Green, 1920.
Webb, Beatrice, and William Henry, first Baron Beveridge. Beatrice Webb’s Diaries, 1912-1924. Editor Cole, Margaret I., Longmans, 1952.
Webb, Beatrice. Beatrice Webb’s Diaries, 1924-1932. Editor Cole, Margaret I., Longmans, 1956.
Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal Corporations Act. Longmans, Green, 1929.
Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. Industrial Democracy. Longmans, Green, 1897.
Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. Methods of Social Study. Longmans, Green, 1932.
Webb, Beatrice. My Apprenticeship. Longmans, Green, 1926.
Webb, Beatrice. Our Partnership. Editors Drake, Barbara and Margaret I. Cole, Longmans, Green, 1948.
Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. Soviet Communism: A New Civilization?. Longmans, Green, 1935.
Ward, Mary Augusta. The Case for the Factory Acts. Editor Webb, Beatrice, G. Richards, 1901.
Webb, Beatrice. The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain. Swann Sonnenschein, 1891.
Webb, Beatrice. The Diary of Beatrice Webb. Editors MacKenzie, Norman and Jeanne MacKenzie, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985.
Webb, Sidney, and Beatrice Webb. The History of Trade Unionism. Longmans, Green, 1894.
Webb, Beatrice. The Wages of Men and Women: Should They be Equal?. Fabian Society, 1919.
Webb, Beatrice, and Sidney Webb. Visit to New Zealand in 1898. Price Milburn, 1959.
Webb, Beatrice. Women and the Factory Acts. Fabian Society, 1896.