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Beatrice Katz Serota, Baroness Serota DBE (15 October 1919 – 21 October 2002) was a British Government minister and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. Beatrice Katz had been brought up in the East End, the daughter of Jewish refugees from central Europe. She was nicknamed "Bea" or "Bee" from an early age. Her future husband, Stanley Serota, whose family had come from Russia, lived next door; they were married in 1942. He qualified as a civil engineer. She was educated at John Howard School and at the LSE, where she read economics and where she later became an honorary fellow. She joined the civil service in 1941 and worked in the crucial Ministry of Fuel and Power through the difficult years of 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. Bea Serota was not the sort of politician who made headlines; she was the sort who got on with the job, who found out where the oil-cans were kept and made sure the wheels went on turning. Her two years with Dick Crossman, during a lively and busy time in the department at the end of a momentous decade when issues such as abortion, contraception - and, in particular, the pill - were highly topical, proved to be her only period of office as a government minister, and yet she spent a lifetime in politics. Harold Wilson appointed her as a government whip almost immediately and then proposed her for the sensitive post of deputy to Crossman, having refused to promote Roy Hattersley, whom he suspected of disloyalty. She had never been an MP herself, but she was known as a thoroughly competent administrator. She was especially popular in London at that time. She had been a member of the old Hampstead Borough Council immediately after the Second World War and subsequently served successively on the London County Council, as the member for Brixton, and the Greater London Council, as the member for Lambeth. Until the end of her life she was devoted to the London suburb of Hampstead, where she lived as an adult and cut her political teeth as a young married woman. She became chief whip when she was on the GLC, a post that would stand her in good stead later. Her other defining post was as the vice-chairwoman of the Inner London Education Authority, which she held for three years until 1967. It was her distinguished career in local government and the work that she did for children - she was on a number of advisory councils for child care, for training and on the penal system - that brought her the recognition of a seat in the Lords as a recognised authority on the subject. She had also chaired the LCC children's committee for seven years. She was the chair of the advisory council on the penal system, and she was the first ombudsman for local government. She was a member of the community relations commission and of the BBC complaints commission and she was a BBC Governor. She served on the Longford Committee on Crime and on the Latey Committee, which led to the lowering of the age of majority to 18. In the Lords, she became a deputy speaker in 1985, and then the principal deputy chairwoman of committees. Education John Howard School London School of Economics (Honorary Fellow, 1976) Life Peerage In 1967, she was created a life peer as Baroness Serota, of Hampstead in Greater London. External links Oxford Index #101077350 Catalogue of the Serota papers at the Archives Division of the London School of Economics. LSE Daily Telegraph obituary Political offices Preceded by The Lord Sorenson Baroness-in-Waiting 1968–1969 Succeeded by The Baroness Llewelyn-Davies Persondata Name Serota, Beatrice Alternative names Short description Date of birth Place of birth Date of death Place of death