She was born to a farming family in the coalmining community of Midsomer Norton, Somerset on 27 May 1899. She was sister of Joan Beauchamp, later Joan Thompson, who became a prominent suffragette and associate of Sylvia Pankhurst.
She joined the Communist Party, for which she served as International Secretary. She also helped found the Daily Worker. As its Managing Director, she was jailed for contempt of court when the paper described the conviction of Wal Hannington, an unemployed workers' leader, as a “frame-up”.
She was one of the eight Party members who produced the first ever edition of the Daily Worker, which appeared on 1 January 1930.
She worked as a teacher and was also involved with the Communist Party’s Education Department. During the 1930s and 1940s, she worked closely with Harry Pollitt, organising hunger marches, solidarity work for the Spanish Civil War and the campaign for the Second Front in World War II.
After the war, she was elected a local Councillor in Finsbury. She also served as International Secretary of the Communist Party. In this role she made several visits to Africa. She was involved in the Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF), founded in 1954, and worked with Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and other future leaders of emergent Africa.
In 1972 her first marriage was dissolved and she married Tony Gilbert. She continued to be active in politics for the rest of her life. She died on 25 January 1992.
Publications written by Kay Beauchamp
- Leninism ~ a syllabus (1940)
- Our Borough - an introductory discussion syllabus. On the government of the borough of Finsbury (1945)
- Canvassing (1945)
- Fascism and how to defeat it (1959)
- We can get those deep shelters (1961)
- Black citizens (1973)
- Report of Liberation Conference to isolate and defeat racism (1977)
- One race, the human race (1979)
- Ethiopia: An African Giant Awakens [with Tony Gilbert] (1985)
- Racism: A Threat to World Peace – [with Amanda Mensah] (1986)
- Ring Around the Carnival [with Maggie Chetty] (1986)
- http://www.20thcenturylondon.org.uk/server.php?show=conObject.9416&Who=&What=&Where=&When=&contentType=conObject&pp=10&search_word=&catId%5B6%5D%5B%5D=00200700b&¤tPage=3¤t_browser_object=25. Interview of Kay Beauchamp for oral history project.