Fabian Society: speakers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Handbills advertising socialist, radical, trade union and co-operative meetings, mainly addressed by Fabian Society speakers.

Administrative / Biographical History

In October 1883 Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) and Hubert Bland (1855-1914) decided to form a socialist debating group with their Quaker friend Edward Pease (1857-1955). They were also joined by Havelock Ellis (1859-1939) and Frank Podmore (1856-1910). In January 1884 they decided to call themselves the Fabian Society. Hubert Bland chaired the first meeting and was elected treasurer. By March 1884 the group had twenty members. However, over the next couple of years the group increased in size and included socialists such as Annie Besant (1847-1933), Sidney Webb (1859-1947), Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Clement Attlee (1883-1967), Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), H G Wells (1866-1946) and Rupert Brooke (1887-1915). By 1886 the Fabians had sixty-seven members and an income of 35 19s. The official headquarters of the organisation was 14 Dean's Yard, Westminster. The Fabian Society journal, 'Today', was edited by Edith Nesbit and Hubert Bland. The Fabians believed that capitalism had created an unjust and inefficient society. They agreed that the ultimate aim of the group should be to reconstruct 'society in accordance with the highest moral possibilities'. The Fabians adopted the tactic of trying to convince people by 'rational factual socialist argument', rather than the 'emotional rhetoric and street brawls' of the Social Democratic Federation, Britain's first socialist political party. On 27th Febuary 1900, representatives from the Fabian Society and all the other socialist groups in Britain met at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London. This conference established the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), which in 1906 changed its name to the Labour Party. At its outset the LRC had one member of the Fabian Society among its members.

Conditions Governing Access

OPEN

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Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

Conditions Governing Use

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Corporate Names