National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Collection includes: Handbook of the National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland 1898-1916; Hints on industrial problems, drawn up by the Sectional Committee on Industry; Occasional papers; conference programme; report of the annual meeting 1899-1902; reports of sectional committees, 1908; conference papers and reports 1894-1908.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Union of Women Workers was founded in 1895. It came out of a movement in the late 1880s in which several women's philanthropic organisations were involved in issues around women and work - including trade unions. A series of conferences took place resulting in a conference at Liverpool in 1891 where a Central Council of the Conferences of Women Workers was established. At the 1895 meeting a new constitution was adopted and the organisation changed its name to The National Union of Women Workers. In October 1895 the first conference was held at Nottingham with Louisa Creighton as President. Vice-Presidents included Lady Frederick Cavendish and Lady Laura Ridding. Beatrice Webb was an early member of the Executive. It's objectives were: 'The encouragement of sympathy of thought and purpose among the women of Great Britain and Ireland; the promotion of their social, civil and religious welfare; the gathering and distribution of serviceable information; the federation of women's organisations and the formation of local councils and Union of Workers.' The NUWW was concerned with women workers 'paid or voluntary' - so not simply working class women. Annual conferences lasting 3-4 days took place around the country with published reports of proceedings. Topics of debate included education, temperance, emigration, paid work, poverty, social reform and suffrage. The Union's headquarters were in Berners Street, London and their magazine 'An Occasional Paper' was published quarterly. By 1912 it had attracted more than 7,000 members operating via branches throughout the UK. In Oct 1918 it changed its name to the National Council of Women of Great Britain & Ireland and ten years later to the National Council of Women of Great Britain. The Council continues to act as a pressure group at national and international level to highlight issues concerning women. Summarised from 'British Women's Organisations' by Doughan and Godron. (this particular entry, Glick 1995) NOTE Not to be confused with the shortlived National Union of Women Workers, Bristol 1874

Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers by appointment, at the discretion of the TUC Librarian.

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the TUC at an unknown date.

Other Finding Aids

Items can be located in the online Library Catalogue http://emu.londonmet.ac.uk:2082/search~S7

Archivist's Note

Description by Catherine Burke, Genesis Project Officer 2002. Submitted to the Archives Hub in 2008 as part of the Genesis 2008 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying is permitted within the terms of copyright legislation, although copying of some items including fragile material is at the discretion of the librarian.