Sidney James Webb (1859-1947), Baron Passfield, was born on 13 July 1859 in London. He was educated on the continent and at Birkbeck Institute and the City of London College. He was a civil servant, 1878-1891, and was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1885. Webb joined the Fabian Society in 1885, and was the Progressive member for Deptford on London County Council, 1892-1910. In 1892 he married Martha Beatrice Potter (1858-1943). The couple engaged in a wide range of public projects and published books on trade unionism, democracy and local government. They launched the London School of Economic and Political Science in 1895, and founded the 'New statesman' in 1913. Sidney Webb served on the Labour Party Executive, 1915-1925, and was Labour M.P. for the Seaham division of Durham, 1922-1929. He was President of the Board of Trade, 1924, Secretary for the Dominions and for the Colonies, 1929-1930, and Secretary for the Colonies, 1930-1931. He died on 13 October 1947 at Passfield Corner near Liphook, Hampshire.
Sir Thomas Drummond Shiels (1881-1953), Labour politician, was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1929-1931.
The letter clarifies the constitutional relationship between the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Passfield), the Under-Secretary (Shiels) and the Civil Service.
Presented by Lady Shiels.
Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), p. 33. Indexed