Joseph Madin Collection

Scope and Content

The papers of Joseph Madin, Sheffield trades unionist and Labour Party activist, and co-founder of the Sheffield Labour College, circa 1913 to 1959. The collection also includes his personal library of books and pamphlets.

Administrative / Biographical History

The collection comprises the papers, including many press cuttings, of Joseph Madin, Sheffield trades-unionist and Labour Party activist, together with his personal library of books and pamphlets. Other ephemera such as election pamphlets are included.

Joseph Madin (1892-1967) was a local trades unionist and co-founder of the Sheffield Labour College. He was born in July 1892 at Crookes, Sheffield, and after an education in Sheffield Council schools became a turner by trade. Brought up an Anglican, he moved away from the Church in his youth, becoming a socialist at the age of 14, soon following his two elder brothers into the Socialist Labour Party.

In 1914 he joined the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (later the Amalgamated Engineering Union) and served as a shop steward at Hadfields, Tinsley, during the First World War. Subsequently he held numerous other posts in the AEU, serving as member of the District Committee, as Branch President and as District President, and serving on the Sheffield Trades Unionist and Labour Council over a period of 47 years, ultimately holding office as President from 1946 to 1960. As President of the Sheffield Trades and Labour Council he sat on the City Council Labour Group and Executive Committee for seven years, and was also a delegate from his AEU branch to the Park Constituency Labour Party, 1926-1930 and 1947-1967. From 1949 he was an Executive Committee member of the Yorkshire Regional Council of the Labour Party, being appointed its Vice-Chairman in 1952.

Madin helped to establish the Sheffield Labour College in 1919, becoming its organiser, and it was on the initiative of the Sheffield College, together with the Labour Colleges of London, Manchester and Scotland that the National Council of Labour Colleges was founded. From 1918 to 1934 he was a tutor and held classes in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire on Economics, Industrial and Social History, Social Development, Philosophy and Chairmanship, as well as delivering many lectures to AEU branches during the period.

During the Second World War he helped to form the Sheffield Fabian Society, holding the office of President from 1957 until his death. He edited Sheffield Forward, the organ of the Sheffield Labour Party, and was on the editorial board of Socialist Commentary, the Fabian Society's national publication.

Apart from his Labour and Trade Union activities, Madin served on the Rent Tribunal from 1946, became a Justice of the Peace in 1947 and became a member of the Board of Governors of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in 1948. In 1952 he was appointed to the Court of Sheffield University, and his work on behalf of the Labour movement and his other activities were recognised in 1959 by the conferment of an honorary LL.M. degree by the University.

In later life he returned to the Church and helped to found the Sheffield Industrial Mission.

Madin died on 3rd February 1967 and later that year a Joe Madin Memorial Trust for educational work was set up.


The Papers follow Madin's own arrangement. The Books and Pamphlets are arranged in sections.

Access Information

Available to all researchers, by appointment

Acquisition Information

Collection presented to Sheffield University on his death


Description prepared by Lawrence Aspden

Other Finding Aids

Printed catalogue (NRA 98P, Ref. No. 20789)

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright: University of Sheffield