Records of the Chainmakers' and Strikers' Association

Scope and Content

Chainmakers' and Strikers' Association: Minutes, 1905-1966; accounts, 1922-1977; cash books, 1928-1977; contributions books; factory secretaries' account books; death certificates, 1931-1977; Henry Woodhouse Trust Fund papers, 1948-1977; superannuation papers, 1946-1977; annual reports, 1889-1977; photographs; annual registration returns, 1921-1969; price lists, 1897-1961; subscription lists and names of firms, 1931-1974; miscellaneous papers.

The collection also includes: papers of the Amalgamated Society of Anchorsmiths and Shacklemakers, 1914-1933; minutes of the United Chainmakers' and Strikers' Association, Saltney, Ponypridd and Staffordshire, 1898-1906; minutes of the Chainmakers' Providential Association, 1890-1893; minutes and papers of the Block Chainmakers' Association, 1901-1917.

Administrative / Biographical History

The United Chain Makers' & Chain Strikers' Association, Saltney, Pontypridd & Staffordshire was founded in Chester on 6 July 1889. Its name was changed to the Chain Makers' & Strikers' Association in 1899. At its outset the Association comprised a single factory, Messrs. H. Wood & Co., Chester, but grew to include factories and outworkers in the main chain manufacturing centres of Cradley Heath, Pontypridd, Shifnal, Crewe, St Helens and Tipton. The object of the workers' union was to raise funds by means of contributions to provide support for workers in the chain manufacturing trade. This included securing prices and wages legally bargained for by members; regulating working hours and general relations between employers and employees; providing allowances for members who were locked-out, on strike or out of work, and raising funds for the provision of benefits for members and their families in the instance of accidents or death. The Association was responsible for significant progress in the conditions of employment in the chain trade. Issues tackled included Government contracts, specifically the insertion of a clause whereby all government contractors for chain were required to pay the same rate of wages. The chain trade one of the first trades to secure such an advantage. The Association also addressed the problem of bogus certificates, which falsely certified the testing of chains; the prevention of re-sale as sound of condemned Government chain, and secured the addition of the "Particulars Clause" to the Factory Act, concerning the rate of pay and how this was reckoned.

The Association was governed by an Executive Council, elected at a Special General Meeting. General meetings of the Association were half-yearly, and a statement of accounts was drawn up at the end of June and December each year. The founder and first Secretary of the Association was Thomas Sitch, 1889-1923. The offices of the Association were at Unity Villa, Cradley Heath. The Association became defunct in 1967, and was dissolved in 1977.

The Block Chain Makers' Association was established on 9 July 1888. Its members comprised outworkers who made small block and other qualities of chain. The union was effectively a branch of the Chain Makers' and Strikers' Association, and both its President and Secretary were members and officials of the larger body. The growth of the Factory system and the decline of out-work in connection with the making of the higher qualities of small chain gradually reduced the membership, and the Association was dissolved on 27 December 1917.

The Amalgamated Society of Anchorsmiths, Shackle & Shipping Tackle Makers was established on 2 July 1898. In 1905, the official offices of the union were removed to Unity Villa, where the Chain Makers' & Strikers' Association was based. It was dissolved on 31 December 1923.

Reference: Deposit information


The temporary arrangement of the papers is by name of corporate body.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited as a gift by remaining members of the executive in 1982.

Other Finding Aids

See full catalogue for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.