Beatrice Webb ~ Social Reformer

Day 358 of Colourisation Project – April 30

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication. 

A socialist utopian, she coined the term “collective bargaining.”

She was at the core of the Fabian Society, deeply influencing British radical thought during the first half of the 20th century.

A social reformer and ardent campaigner for the welfare state, she co-founded the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Beatrice Webb

Photographer: Bassano Ltd  ~  Beatrice Webb  1938  ~ Coloured by Loredana Crupi

A shaker and an influencer, she was the self-taught, English economist, Beatrice Webb, born 22 January 1858.

Webb was also a labour historian and a prolific author. She wrote The Cooperative Movement in Great Britain in 1891, introducing concepts like ‘cooperative federalism’ and ‘cooperative individualism’, into a field of industrial economics that was almost solely populated by men of a Victorian mould.

In 1892 she married socialist, economist Sydney Webb, and together they became a formidable partnership in British industrial relations history. Their life’s work was devoted to social reform and research in economic history. They collaborated on numerous books, pamphlets, and essays, including their best known work, The History of Trade Unionism, which Beatrice (1894) and Industrial Democracy (1897).

They agitated for the establishment of a new political party of a socialist persuasion. In Soviet Communism: A New Civilization? (1935), they focused on economic experiments taking place in the Soviet Union, predicting that the Soviet Union’s “social and economic system of planned production for community consumption” would eventually spread across the globe, adding that they hoped this would happen through reform rather than revolution.

Webb kept extensive diaries for 70 years, from 1873 until her death in 1943. They make up a key resource for research into a broad range of subjects, including late 19th and 20th century politics, Communism, industrial relations, and the role of women in society.

Beatrice Webb continued her social research and political work late into her life. She died on this day, 30 April 1943 aged 85.

The casket containing her ashes was buried in the garden of their house in Passfield Corner to be joined by her husband four years later. In 1947 after a  successful petition by George Bernard Shaw, also a founding member of the Fabian society, their ashes were interred in the nave of Westminster Abbey.


“…if I had been a man, self-respect, family pressure and the public opinion of my class would have pushed me into a money making profession; as a mere woman I could carve out a career of disinterested research.”  –Beatrice Webb

This entry was posted in Britain, Colorization, Colourisation, History, Photography, Women, Women in Politics, Women writers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Beatrice Webb ~ Social Reformer

  1. you need to make this 365 into a book, it’s so interesting and the photo’s are just great.

    Liked by 1 person

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