Beatrice Webb's typescript diary, 2 January 1901-10 February 1911


1901 After the Cockerton judgement restricting School Boards Sidney writes Fabian Tract 106: The Education Muddle and the Way Out. September, on Shaw's initiative he publishes 'Lord Rosebery's Escape from Houndsditch' in Nineteenth Century; also writes Fabian Tract 108.

1902 Sidney closely involved in drafting of Conservative Education Act, though it is opposed by his own party, the Progressives, on the L.C.C. [London County Council]; this leads to breach with Graham Wallas. A.J .Balfour, personal friend of Beatrice, becomes Conservative Prime Minister. September, Webbs found the 'Co-Efficients' as discussion and dining club or 'shadow cabinet' for supporters of 'National Efficiency' — imperial destiny abroad and social reform at home; H.G. Wells becomes member.

1903 Webbs support London Education Act. Summer, Sidney carries through scheme for Imperial Institute (later Imperial College) in South Kensington with gift from Sir Julius Wernher and grant from L.C.C. Webbs fear Tariff Reform issue may be damaging to L.S.E. [London School of Economics]: endeavour to maintain formal neutrality on this issue as with Fabians at time of Boer War. December, death of Herbert Spencer: Beatrice excluded as literary executor when she became an avowed socialist. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, The History of Liquor Licensing in England; Sidney also writes Fabian Tract 114.

1904 Sidney becomes member of Royal Commission on Trade Disputes. L.C.C. scholarship scheme drafted by him published.

1905 November, Beatrice appointed as member of the Royal Commission on Poor Law, set up as last act of Balfour government.

1906 January, General Election, huge Liberal majority. Webbs isolated from incoming government dominated by Liberals, Little Englanders, Gladstonians and Nonconformists; use the Royal Commission as their platform for social policy. Sidney publishes his proposals in June National Review, 'The Liberal Cabinet. An Intercepted Letter'. February, Wells in 'Faults of the Fabian' launches full-scale attack on Fabian leadership. November, Beatrice openly withdraws her opposition to women's suffrage. Beatrice active on Commission meetings and in research: Sidney acts as her assistant and amanuensis. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English Local Government I: The Parish and the County.

1907 March, Sidney narrowly saves Deptford seat when Progressives are routed in L.C.C. election. April, Beatrice and Sidney drafting memoranda on Unemployment for Royal Commission; May, Beatrice puts her scheme of reform to it. Continuing struggle with Wells inside the Fabian Society. Webbs seek protégés amongst young university Fabians. Sidney writes Fabian Tracts 131 and 135.

1908 Webbs meet Lloyd George and Winston Churchill about Minority proposals: end of Royal Commission sittings. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English Local Government lI-IlI: The Manor and the Borough.

1909 February, Reports of Royal Commission published: Webbs, after dispute about copyright, publish cheap Fabian edition of Minority Report. May, beginning of National Committee for Break-up of the Poor Law, later National Committee for Prevention of Destitution: by December it has 16,000 members. July, Beatrice receives doctorate from Manchester University.

1910 Liberal struggle for Lloyd George budget and against House of Lords (which involves two general elections) largely ignored by Webbs who press their own campaign. March, Sidney leaves L.C.C. April, Private Member's Bill embodying Minority Report proposals defeated. Webbs devote Fabian Summer School to encouragement of university Fabians and Poor Law campaign activists; in November Beatrice sets up research department for Poor Law campaign. October, demand for Sidney's resignation from L.S.E. foiled. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English Local Government X: English Poor Law Policy; The State and the Doctor.

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