Records of the National Union of Seamen (Aberdeen Branch)

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1926 - 1951; new membership ledgers, 1954 - 1961; membership contribution books, 1952 - 1961; printed papers, 1921 - 1926 and 1959 (including member's contribution and rule book issued to James Henderson, sailor, Shetland, by the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union, 1924 - 1926, and 3 posters re. 40 hour week for union members, n.d.); printed reports of proceedings of Union Annual General Meetings, 1949 - 1957.

Administrative / Biographical History

The union was formed in 1887 as the National Union of Sailors and Firemen. It was joined by Aberdeen Fishermen's Association (est.1914) in 1916, and had adopted its present name - the National Union of Seamen - by 1926.

An Aberdeen branch of the National Union of Sailors and Firemen was established by Feb 1889, but had fallen into decline by 1892. It was re-constituted during the seamen's strike of 1911, and played a part in securing a wage agreement and overtime rights for coastal seamen at this time. Records relating to the union have been deposited here with those of the National Union of Seamen (Aberdeen Branch), suggesting that the two may have amalgamated at some time in the early twentieth century. No further details were available at time of compilation.

Further information about the development of the trade union movement and the history of individual trade unions in Aberdeen can be found in William Diack, History of the Trades Council and the Trade Union Movement in Aberdeen (Aberdeen: Aberdeen Trades Council, 1939), and in Kenneth D. Buckley, Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1870 - 1900 (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1955). Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, 4 vols (Aldershot: Gower, 1980 - 1984) also contains useful information about the development of individual unions, at both the national and local level. Summarised details from each of these sources has been used in compiling this collection level description.


Arranged by record type, and chronologically therein

Conditions Governing Access

Open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the University in 1967

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available in the Reading Room, Special Libraries and Archives, University of Aberdeen. Contents of this list are searchable on-line at, via the Historic Collections database.

Very brief collection level description available on Aberdeen University Library Catalogue, accessible online

Alternative Form Available

No copies known

Conditions Governing Use

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of Special Libraries and Archives (e-mail: and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


No accruals expected

Related Material

No related material identified in this repository


No known publications using this material

Geographical Names