National Union of Seamen

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Various series of minutes, 1887-l967; accounts, 1899-1971; annual/biennial general meetings, 1911-91; correspondence and subject files, 1909-85; subject files re miners' strike, 1984-5; ephemera, etc., re 1988-9 strike; The Seaman, 1908, 1912-90; other publications, 1911-; circulars, 1917-85; press-cuttings, 1903-76; branch minutes (copies), 1947-85; some branch records, 1907-77.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Union of Seamen was founded in 1893 as the National Sailors and Firemen's Union, the successor to the National Amalgamated Sailors and Firemen's Union of Great Britain and Ireland, founded in 1887 on the initiative of J.H. Wilson. In 1922 a cooks and stewards' section was formed and the Hull Seamen's Union, the oldest and strongest of the local societies, was absorbed. The title of National Union of Seamen was adopted in 1926. In 1990 the union amalgamated with the National Union of Railwaymen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

Reference: Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, The Seamen - a history of the National Union of Seamen (Oxford, 1989).

Arrangement

The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see http://www.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/mrcclass.shtml. It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Ten year closure rule on all papers; thirty year closure rule on some files giving personal details or belonging to high ranking officials. Printed material, including the proceedings of general meetings, is open for research.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by the National Union of Seamen in January 1978. A further major deposit was made in 1993-1994 after the new National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers decided to base itself at Unity House, Euston Road, London, the National Union of Railwaymen's old headquarters building. A large (65 shelf metres) additional deposit was made to the National Union of Seamen's archive when the old headquarters at Maritime House were vacated.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue of material accessioned up to 1981 is available at the Centre. In addition there is a box list of material deposited in 1993-1994.

Authority files exist for the National Union of Seamen (GB 152 AAR1021) and its predecessors : the National Sailors and Firemen's Union (GB 152 AAR1022) and the National Amalgamated Sailors and Firemen's Union of Great Britain and Ireland (GB 152 AAR1027).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Appraisal Information

When the National Union of Seamen vacated its old headquarters at Maritime House, two large basements of records had been left behind and a selection had to be made of which records to save. Large numbers of files of negotiations with specific companies were not saved, with the exception of a few companies, saved as samples. A voluminous amount of case files was also rejected.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.