Graphical version

British Library of Political and Economic Science

Webb: Trade Union papers


Reference code(s): GB 0097 WEBB TRADE UNION

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: Webb: Trade Union papers

Date(s): [1814-1924]

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 298 volumes

Name of creator(s): Webb | (Martha) Beatrice | 1858-1943 | wife of 1st Baron Passfield | social reformer and historian Webb | Sidney James | 1859-1947 | 1st Baron Passfield | social reformer and historian


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Webbs pooled their respective talents into writing joint works on economic and social issues. This partnership produced books such as The history of Trade Unionism, 1666-1920 (1894), Industrial democracy (1897), and Problems of Modern Industry (1898). Their work spread into areas such as historical and social research, educational and political reform and journalism, and much of what they produced altered the perceptions of economists and social historians, who had previously ignored the working classes. For a biographical history of Sidney and Beatrice Webb, see the description for the Passfield personal papers (Ref: Passfield).


Scope and content/abstract:

Materials on trade unionism collated by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, [1814-1924], mainly during research for The history of trade unionism, 1666-1920 (Longmans and Co, London, 1894), Industrial democracy (Longmans and Co, London, 1897) and other works, including manuscript notes relating to various trades, pamphlets and printed material concerning trade unions, trade union rule books, and printed reports and other periodical material.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The material is mainly arranged according to trade or union.

Conditions governing access:

Open. Some of the volumes are available on microfilm. Section D of the collection is issued at the main Library issue desk.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the LSE. No documents may be photocopied. Microfilm copies of some volumes.

Physical characteristics:

The physical condition of the volumes is fragile and care should be taken when handling them.

Finding aids:

Printed handlist available. The majority of the collection is catalogued according to union in the main Library catalogue.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Given by Sidney Webb in 1939. A further deposit was made in 1948. The collection was formerly known as Coll E/Trade Union Collection. Section D, the Trade Union journals, has been continually added to since the original deposit.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Microfilm copies of some of the volumes are available.

Related material:

There is also material concerning trade unionism in the Passfield papers (Ref: Passfield). For a full list of material relating to the Webbs in the Library and elsewhere, see the description for the Passfield papers.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Mar 2001

Labour history | History
Politics | Political science
Social history | History
Trade unions | Labour relations

Personal names
Webb | Martha Beatrice | 1858-1943 | née Potter | social reformer and historian x Potter | Martha Beatrice x Webb | Beatrice
Webb | Sidney James | 1859-1947 | 1st Baron Passfield | social reformer and historian x Passfield | 1st Baron

Corporate names