Beatrice Webb's typescript diary, 1 January 1889-[7] March 1898


1889 August, London dock strike launches movement to organise unskilled workers. Beatrice travels widely in England to collect material for book on Co-operation.

1890 January, Sidney and Beatrice meet for first time. Apart from civil service work, Sidney does much freelance journalism, especially for the E and Speaker, and assumes leading role in Fabian policy-making. In May Beatrice and Sidney attend Co-operative Congress in Glasgow and form 'Working Compact'. Sidney begins long series of love letters urging marriage. Beatrice studies economic theory. In September Beatrice and Sidney attend British Association in Leeds. Sidney lectures in Lancashire for Fabian Provincial Campaign; in November is very ill with scarlet fever. Reluctance of Beatrice to agree to marriage deters him from plan to resign from Civil Service. Beatrice publishes 'The Lords Committee on the Sweating System' in June Nineteenth Century. Sidney publishes 'The Reform of the Poor Law' in July Contemporary Review; also writes Fabian Tracts Nos. 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 22.

1891 Beatrice joins Fabian Society. Sidney considers candidature for Parliament and/ or London County Council [L.C.C.]. May, Beatrice becomes engaged to Sidney, after much urging, at Co-operative Congress at Lincoln; engagement to be kept secret during Richard Potter's lifetime. Sidney decides to leave Civil Service and rely on Beatrice's private income (c. £1,000 p.a.) and his earnings from journalism. They agree to collaborate on The History of Trade Unionism. September, Beatrice attends T.U.C. Congress. October, Sidney attends National Liberal Federation meeting in Newcastle; 'Newcastle Programme' (advanced Radical) adopted. December, he is adopted as progressive candidate for L.C.C. in Deptford. He publishes The London Programme and (with Harold Cox) The Eight Hours Day: he also writes Fabian Tracts 23-26 and 30-37. Beatrice publishes The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain.

1892 New Year's Day, death of Richard Potter: Beatrice then reveals her engagement to her sisters. March, Sidney is elected to L.C.C. for Deptford and becomes Chairman of Technical Education Board. On 23 July Sidney and Beatrice are married in St. Pancras workhouse: they spend honeymoon working on trade union records. Later in the year they draft minority report for trade union members (Henry Broadhurst and Tom Mann) of Royal Commission on Labour. 1893 Webbs sign lease of 41 Grosvenor Road (later 41 Millbank) as permanent home. Disillusioned with Liberal Government and unwilling to support newly-formed Independent Labour Party, Sidney and Bernard Shaw publish 'To Your Tents O Israel' on 1 November in Fortnightly Review. Liberal Fabians antagonised.

1894 Webbs begin Industrial Democracy. In August they learn of legacy of £10,000 from H.H. Hutchinson, a Derby Fabian, and decide to use half to found London School of Economics [L.S.E.]. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, The History of Trade Unionism, published; also Sidney writes Fabian Tracts 51 and 60.

1895 Autumn, foundation of L.S.E. with financial help from Irish heiress Charlotte Payne-Townshend. Sidney secures additional funds from L.C.C. and becomes Chairman of the Court of Governors, and (until 1912) lectures in Public Administration. Webbs are neutral in General Election, and prefer 'permeating young middle-class men'; they commit themselves to idea of a Collectivist Party, distinct from Liberals and I.L.P. [Independent Labour Party].

1896 October, L.S.E. opens in Adelphi Terrace. Webbs begin to support Conservative Government's proposals for educational reform. Ramsay MacDonald attacks use of Hutchinson legacy. Sidney writes Fabian Tract 69, and Beatrice Fabian Tract 67.

1897 Webbs primarily concerned with London politics and the development of L.S.E.; they break ties with Gladstonian Liberals. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Industrial Democracy: Sidney writes Fabian Tracts 75 and 84.

1898 March, Sidney re-elected to L.C.C. April, Webbs leave on tour to United States, New Zealand and Australia, returning December. Bernard Shaw and Charlotte Payne-Townshend marry during their absence. Sidney and Beatrice Webb: Problems of Modern Industry.

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