Transport and General Workers' Union: Ernest Bevin Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Mainly papers regarding his membership of committees and organisations during the inter-war period, 1919-1954: minutes and related papers, 1919-1937; correspondence and subject files, 1919-1939; miscellaneous articles and speeches by Bevin, 1919-1939; press cuttings, 1919-1954; Trade Unionist journal, 1926

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Bevin was born in 1884. Full-time official, Dockers' Union, 1911, assistant national organiser, 1913, national organiser, 1914. Became General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1922. Member of Trades Union Congress General Council from 1925. TUC Chairman, 1936-1937. Labour Member of Parliament for Wandsworth Central, 1940-1950; Woolwich East, 1950-1951. Minister of Labour and National Service, 1940-1945. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1945-1950. Lord Privy Seal, 1951. Died in 1951.

Reference: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1992).


Prior to the transfer of the papers from the Transport and General Workers' Union to the Centre they had been re-arranged in a strictly chronological sequence regardless of source or subject. This arrangement rendered the papers virtually unusable. They have consequently been re-arranged so as to recreate as far as possible what would appear to have been original series, relating to specific bodies or topics. A small residue of papers has been allocated to a miscellaneous section.

The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

The arrangement of the papers is as follows :

Trade union bodies

MSS.126/EB/TG Transport General Workers' Union

MSS.126/EB/NT National Transport Workers' Federation

MSS.126/EB/TU Trades Union Congress

MSS.126/EB/DI TUC/NEC/PLP Joint Disarmament Committee

Official commissions and committees (in chronological order)

MSS.126/EB/PT Port Transit Executive Committee

MSS.126/EB/TR Committee on Trusts

MSS.126/EB/IW Committee on Inland Waterways

MSS.126/EB/DT Dock Transport Workers (Registration Guaranteed Week) Committee

MSS.126/EB/WC Board of Trade Worsted Committee

MSS.126/EB/US Delegation to study industrial conditions in Canada and the USA

MSS.126/EB/CD Colonial Development Committee

MSS.126/EB/MT Standing Committee on Mineral Transport

MSS.126/EB/FI Committee on Finance Industry

MSS.126/EB/EA Economic Advisory Council

MSS.126/EB/PL Port Labour Inquiry

MSS.126/EB/UI Royal Commission on Unemployment Insurance

MSS.126/EB/IH Industrial Health Research Board

MSS.126/EB/HP Committee on Holidays with Pay

Non-official bodies and subject files (in alphabetical order)

MSS.126/EB/Bi Biography

MSS.126/EB/BC British Commonwealth Relations Conference

MSS.126/EB/CA (Council of Action)

MSS.126/EB/CC Coal crisis 1921

MSS.126/EB/DH Daily Herald

MSS.126/EB/DU Dockers unemployment insurance guaranteed wage issue

MSS.126/EB/GS General Strike

MSS.126/EB/GC Geneva Convention on Dock Labour

MSS.126/EB/HL Heffron Labour Party, Australia

MSS.126/EB/HB Humber bridge

MSS.126/EB/IL Independent Labour Party

MSS.126/EB/IP Industrial peace

MSS.126/EB/MV Correspondence with C. McVey

MSS.126/EB/MM Minority Movement

MSS.126/EB/RB Reparations Bill

MSS.126/EB/SS Society for Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda

MSS.126/EB/TB Tay bridge

MSS.126/EB/Wh Whitechapel St George's bye-election

MSS.126/EB/WT Workers' Travel Association


MSS.126/EB/AS Bevin's articles speeches

MSS.126/EB/MC Miscellaneous correspondence

MSS.126/EB/MO Miscellaneous other items

MSS.126/EB/MP Miscellaneous press-cuttings

MSS.126/EB/Tr Trade Unionist newspaper

Conditions Governing Access

Prior written permission is needed from the TGWU. Researchers should apply to Mr R. Collins, Assistant General Secretary, TGWU, Transport House, 128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London, WC1X 8TN.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited with the Centre by the TGWU in 1976.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this catalogue is available at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources.

An authority record exists for Ernest Bevin (GB 152 AAR0754).

Alternative Form Available

Microfilm copies of the Bevin papers are held by the TGWU.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Papers relating to Bevin's ministerial career, dating primarily from 1940-1945, are held at Churchill College, Cambridge. See MSS.126/JJ/4/1 for a list of archives relating to Bevin held in the college up to 1975. The Modern Records Centre holds the records of the TGWU, and its related organisations (MSS.126).