Beatrice Serota, Baroness Serota

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Beatrice Serota, Baroness Serota (Life Peerage 1967) DBE (15 October 1919 – 21 October 2002) was a Labour Party British Government minister, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, and, in 1968, Baroness-in-Waiting to HM The Queen.

Early life

Beatrice née Katz had been brought up in the East End, the daughter Alexander Katz, said to be a company director[1], Jewish refugees from central Europe. Her parent's names etc., are not given in any of the usual directories. She married her husband, Stanley Serota, a civil engineer, on December 27, 1942. His family lived next door to hers, having come from Russia.

She was educated at John Howard School and at the left-wing LSE, where she read economics (BSc) and where she later became an honorary fellow. She joined the civil service in 1941 and worked in the Ministry of Fuel and Power through the Second World War until 1946, when her son, Nicholas Serota, who would later become the director of the Tate Gallery, was born. Two years later, a daughter, Judith, was born, who would pursue a career in the arts.


Beatrice Serota was a socialist member of Hampstead Borough Council 1945-49 and a member of the London County Council for Brixton 1954-65 (Chairman of the Children's Committee 1958-65). Subsequently she was a member of the Greater London Council for Brixton, being Chief Whip, and Vice-Chairman of the notoriously left-wing Inner London Education Authority 1964-67. She became a member of the Advisory Council in Child Care and central Training Council in Child Care, 1958-6; a member of the Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders 1960-64; member of the Royal Commission on the Penal System 1964-66; member of Lord Longford's Committee on Crime - a Challenge to us all 1964; a member of the Latey Committee on the Age of Majority (lowering it to 18); member of the Advisory Council on the Penal System 1966-68, Chairman 1976-78; member of the Seebohm Committee on the Organisation of the Local Authority Personal Social Services 1966-68.

She was created a Labour Party Life Peer as Baroness Serota of Hampstead in 1967 and took her seat in the House of Lords. In 1969-70 she was Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social security; member of the Community Relations Commission 1971-77; Chairman of the Commission for Local Administration in England and Local Commissioner for Greater London and the South-East 1974-82; member of the BBC Complaints Commission 1975-77; Governor of the BBC 1977-82; appointed Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords in 1985. She was appointed Chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities and Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees in 1986.


  1. Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1968, 146th edition, Business Directories Ltd., Epsom, Surrey, p.253.
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, 172nd edition, Hurst Green, East Sussex, p.276. ISBN 0-905702-17-4

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