Beatrice and Sidney Webb

Meet two of LSE’s famous founders, social reformers Beatrice and Sidney Webb.

Meet Beatrice Webb – LSE co-founder and social reformer

Blog editor Hayley Reed introduces Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), one of the four founders of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Born 22 January 1858, Beatrice Webb (nee Potter) became a leading social reformer, Fabian Society member, co-founder of LSE and prolific diarist. Her diaries are available at the LSE Digital Library.
Early years
Beatrice’s accomplishments are a testament to her […]

  • Beatrice Webb c19196 credit LSE Library
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    Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

Ahead of the Beveridge 2.0 event Five LSE Giants’ Perspectives on Poverty, Professor Lucinda Platt explores LSE founder Beatrice Webb’s 1909 Minority Report on the Poor Law, Webb’s views on poor relief and potential influence on William Beveridge. Her report, for which Beveridge was a researcher, called for national and local appropriate coordinated provision for the poor and discussed healthcare, pensions and work. 
Two influential reports
Beatrice Webb’s points of connection […]

Hammering out a new world – the Fabian Window at LSE

On the 20 April 2006 Tony Blair unveiled the Fabian Window, newly installed in the Shaw Library on a long term loan by the Webb Memorial Trust. In 2017 thanks to the generosity of the Webb Memorial Trust, the window became part of the School’s art collections. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the window’s creation and its chequered […]

The Webb portrait

Featuring two of LSE’s founders, the Webb portrait hangs above the fireplace in the Shaw Library. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly tells the story of Sidney and Beatrice Webb at Passfield Corner by William Nicholson.

“In the present year Mr and Mrs Sidney Webb keep a joint seventieth birthday and it is proposed to celebrate this event by securing the painting of […]

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    Our partnership – the courtship of Sidney and Beatrice Webb

Our partnership – the courtship of Sidney and Beatrice Webb

Beatrice Potter and Sidney Webb married on 23 July 1892. On their wedding anniversary, LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly looks back at their unique courtship.

On 8 January 1890 Beatrice Potter was introduced to Sidney Webb by her cousin Margaret Harkness. Beatrice had read Fabian Essays published in 1889 telling a friend that “by far the most significant and interesting essay is […]

Sidney Webb the bibliographer

LSE’s Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science, opened in November 1896. In the second of a series of posts celebrating LSE Library’s 120th anniversary in 2016, Graham Camfield shares the little-known story of Sidney Webb the bibliographer.

As a seasoned researcher Sidney Webb highly valued the work of librarians in compiling indexes and bibliographies. From early in the LSE […]

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    Beatrice Webb, Clara Collet and Charles Booth’s Survey of London

Beatrice Webb, Clara Collet and Charles Booth’s Survey of London

Inderbir Bhullar, LSE Library, shares the story of the women behind Charles Booth’s Survey of London. Posts about LSE’s Library explore the history of the Library and its collections.

At LSE, we’re fortunate to have a fascinating collection of material from what is often referred to as the Charles Booth Survey of London. This survey and all the laboriously collected data which […]

  • Beatrice Webb's diary on display at LSE Library's Foundations: LSE and the Science of Society’ exhibition, 2015. Credit: Hayley Reed
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    Foundations exhibition at LSE Library – Beatrice Webb’s diaries

Foundations exhibition at LSE Library – Beatrice Webb’s diaries

‘Foundations: LSE and the Science of Society’ LSE Library exhibition is a great introduction to the history of LSE’s foundation, from concept to realisation.  It also details some of the personal achievements of notable individuals such as Malinowski and Beveridge. Eleanor Payne, LSE Library, has been giving lunchtime talks in the exhibition this term and shares with us her favourite item from the exhibition.
My […]

Sidney Webb – the early years

LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly introduces the early years of LSE founder Sidney Webb. He grew up in the West End and became a broker, entered the civil service and studied for the bar before joining the Fabian Society.
Deft and ingenious in the logical application of argument he might be, but the main quality was burning conviction and absolute sincerity. To a girl accustomed […]

Women at the front – pioneering LSE teachers

LSE accepted women students from its earliest days. For Women’s History Month 2015, LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly takes a look at the women who stood at the front of the classroom during the early years of the School.
Gertrude Tuckwell

The first woman to appear in the list of teachers in the LSE Calendar is Gertrude Tuckwell in the School’s second year. […]