Brushmakers' Unions

Scope and Content

Series 1: Records of local brushmakers societies including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester - minute books, price lists, cash books and other records.

Series 2: Articles and members' lists of the Brushmakers Benevolent Institute.

Series 3: Lists of journeymen brushmakers and apprentices.

Series 4: Records of the Amalgamated Society of Brushmakers including Executive Council reports and rules.

Series 5: Records of the United Society of Brushmakers including reports, rules, circulars and receivers blanks.

Series 6: Records of the National Society of Brushmakers including reports, accounts, rules, correspondence, branch records and other papers.

Series 7: Histories and biographies of brushmaking and brushmakers' unions by William Kiddier, George Mayes and other historical material.

Administrative / Biographical History

19th Century - A directory of 1829 issued by the Society of Journeymen Brushmakers list 40 local brushmakers' societies in towns including Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and York. The oldest of these was Manchester, which claimed to be established in 1747. The London Society of Brushmakers became the head society and later changed its name to the Society of Journeymen Brushmakers.

Mid 19th Century - the United Society of Brushmakers was established and absorbed many of the local societies. It was also a sponsor of the Brushmakers' Benevolent Institute.

1917 - the United Society of Brushmakers merged with the Amalgamated Society of Brushmakers (established 1889) to form the National Society of Brushmakers.

1983 - the National Society merged with the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union.

Source: Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, Volume 3, Gower Publishing Company Limited (Aldershot, Hants) 1987, pages 405, 407.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

If you wish to visit the library you need to make an appointment. The Working Class Movement Library is open Tuesday-Friday 10.00am-5.00pm and every 1st Saturday of the month 10.00am-4.00pm.

To book an appointment, telephone: 0161 736 3601 or email: .

Other Finding Aids

The full catalogue is available online on the Working Class Movement Library's Web Site -

Archivist's Note

These records were organised and listed by John Percy. Amended and catalogued by Kate Hart, Nov 2008, as part of the 'The past meets the present', HLF project. Description compiled by Kate Hart, Nov 2008 and updated by Jane Taylor, May 2020.