History

Beatrice and Sidney Webb

History

The ashes of socialists and writers Sidney and Beatrice Webb lie in the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey. The small lozenge stone is placed in front of the monument to Charles James Fox. The inscription around the stone reads:

SIDNEY AND BEATRICE

              WEBB

1859-1947       1858-1943

Beatrice was born in January 1858 in Gloucestershire, a daughter of wealthy businessman Richard Potter and his wife Laurencina (Heyworth). She was an early pioneer of socialism and aided the poor, founded co-operative societies and trade unions and with husband Sidney started the London School of Economics and advanced ideas for social security. They were also leading members of the Fabian Society. Sidney was born on 13 July 1859 in London, a son of Charles Webb and his wife Elizabeth and he married Beatrice in 1892. He was a member of the Labour Party, and was often concerned in colonial affairs. In 1929 he was created Baron Passfield but Beatrice never called herself Lady Passfield. She died in 1943 and he in 1947. Their ashes were initially buried at their home but were transferred to the Abbey in December 1947.

A photo of the stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

"Beatrice Webb" by Margaret Cole, 1945.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.