Scope and Content

Correspondence files of the General Secretary and the Assistant Secretary of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, 1937-1989, mainly relating to agreements with various manufacturers, businesses, organisations, and other trade unions, and to union organisation; also includes a "History" file, 1860-1970, and a collection of trade union rule books, 1912-1963; printed works, comprising The Garment Worker: official organ of the Tailors' and Garment Workers' Union , 1926-1991; Circulars to Executive Board Officials and Branches , 1954-1985; Minutes of Special Executive Meetings , 1953-1955, 1960-1968; Membership Summary , 1951-1970; Report of Proceedings of General Conference , 1963-1989.

Administrative / Biographical History

A guild or union existed amongst tailors' servingmen and journeymen in London as long ago as 1417 but the history of the present Union and its predecessors is only recorded from the later 19th Century. The National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW) existed as an independent body until 1991 when it joined the General Municipal and Boilermakers (GMB). At the time of the merger, the NUTGW was itself the result of many amalgamations. In 1912 the United Garment Workers' Union was formed by the amalgamation of the Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Tailors; Amalgamated Union of Clothiers' Operatives; Amalgamated Jewish Tailors, Pressers and Machinists' Trade Union; London Clothiers Cutters; The Shirt, Jacket and Overall Workers; and The Belfast Shirt and Collar Workers. These were later joined by the Scottish National Association of Operative Tailors; London Operative Tailors; and Amalgamated Society of Tailors and Tailoresses. In 1931 these became the NUTGW with the addition of the United Ladies Tailors (London) and the Waterproof Garment Workers' Union.


The papers are arranged into the following series, by function. The files within each series are arranged chronologically, with the exception of series 2, which is arranged alphabetically by organisation name. 1. Financial reports. 2. Correspondence of the General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary. 3. Correspondence and papers. 4. Membership survey. 5. General Secretary minutes special executive meetings with employers organisations etc. 6. Circulars to Executive Board offficials and branches. 7. Conference reports on proceedings. 8. The Garment Worker. 9. Labour Party Annual Reports. 10. Labour: The Workers Magazine. 11. Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers Associations 1965-1968. 12. Industrial Tribunals.

Access Information

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: . For more information about the Archives see the website:

Acquisition Information

Deposited with Department of Political Studies, Queen Mary and Westfield, in 1991.

Other Finding Aids

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Janet Foster as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Separated Material

Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers: biennial conferences, 1937-1961: reports of proceedings; Executive Board minutes, 1932-1964 (incomplete); various sets of circulars, 1937-1989 (incomplete); The Garment Worker , 1932-1938, 1945-1989 (Ref: MSS.192/TGW); Public Record Office of Northern Ireland holds papers of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers dating from 1883 (Ref: D.1050); Aberdeen University Special Collections holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (Aberdeen Branch), Official records, 1898-1952 (Ref: MS 2656); Working Class Movement Library, Salford, holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers/Waterproof Garment Workers Union Shop stewards handbooks, membership books and national agreements.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist.

Appraisal Information

Non-NUTGW journals and books have been moved into library stock.


Ann Kershen Uniting the Tailors (1994).