Papers of Ernest Bevin PC (1884-1951), trade union leader and politician

Scope and Content

Mainly papers regarding his membership of committees and organisations during the inter-war period, as well as miscellaneous correspondence, articles and speeches.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Bevin was born in 1884. He became a full-time official with the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union in 1911, assistant national organiser in 1913, and national organiser in 1914. He became first General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union on its formation in 1922. He was a member of the Trades Union Congress General Council from 1925 and served as TUC Chairman, 1936-1937. He was Labour Member of Parliament for Wandsworth Central, 1940-1950 and Woolwich East, 1950-1951. He served in the government as Minister of Labour and National Service, 1940-1945, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1945-1950, and Lord Privy Seal, 1951. He died in 1951.


Prior to the transfer of the papers from the Transport and General Workers' Union to the Centre they had been rearranged 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.

Access Information

Prior written permission to consult unpublished records in this archive is required. Details are given in the full catalogue. Subject to permission being granted, the archive is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

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

Other Finding Aids

Alternative Form Available

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

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

See MSS.126/DWR (Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union) and MSS.126/TG (Transport and General Workers' Union). 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.