Papers of Sir Joseph Hallsworth (1884-1974), trade union leader

Scope and Content

Research papers on hours and conditions of employment, mainly inter-war; specific topics include juvenile labour, the ILO, holidays and public health; includes correspondence between the Government and local authorities relating to public health provisions in the workplace, with responses from Cardiff, Pontypridd and Rhondda, and Newport, Monmouthshire, 1915 (MSS.70/3/27/5-52), a file on child and juvenile labour in Cardiff, 1913-1938 (MSS.70/3/3) and the fifth annual report of the Rhondda Advisory Committee for Juvenile Employment, 1934. Publications 1947-present.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joseph Hallsworth was born in Audenshaw, near Manchester, on 2 December 1884. After attending commercial and technical schools in Manchester he became in 1902 confidential clerk to the Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Employees (AUCE). He later became Assistant Secretary of the AUCE and in 1916 was appointed Secretary. In 1921 the AUCE amalgamated with the Warehouse Workers' Union to become the National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers (NUDAW) and Hallsworth became Secretary-General of the new union. When in 1947 NUDAW amalgamated with the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks (NAUSAWC) to form the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), Hallsworth became the first Secretary-General of USDAW until his retirement in 1949. Hallsworth served on many bodies during his years as a trade union official. He was Secretary of the Trade Union's Side of the National Conciliation Boards for the Co-operative Service from 1927 to 1947, a member of the Trade Boards Administration Committee in 1921, a member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from 1926 to 1947 and its President in 1938-39. He was also a member of the Home Office Committee on Hours of Work of Young Persons in Unregulated Occupations, 1936, of the Ministry of Labour Cost of Living Advisory Committee, 1936 and 1946-47, of the Holidays with Pay Committee, 1937, of the Central Price Regulation Committees under the Prices of Goods Act, 1939, and under the Goods and Services (Price Control) Act, 1941-47, of the Joint Consultative Committee and National Joint Advisory Council to the Ministry of Labour Factory and Welfare Board until 1947, and of the War Damage Commission. In addition he was a member of the National Coal Board (NCB) and Chairman of its Miners' Welfare Commission, 1947-49, and Chairman of the North Western Electricity Board, 1949-55. He unsuccessfully stood as Labour candidate for Stretford in 1918. Hallsworth was a member of the British representation at the International Labour Conference in Geneva from 1927 to 1937, and a workers' delegate, 1938-39, 1941 and 1944-47. He was President of the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical and Technical Employees (IFCCTE / FIET) until 1947 and a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office / International Labour Organisation (ILO) until 1948. He was knighted in 1946. He married Jessie Schofield in 1908 (she died in 1946). Hallsworth died on 19 July 1974.

Reference: 'Who Was Who'.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited in the Centre in 1974 by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected. [Journal ongoing].

Related Material

The Centre also holds records relating to the Coventry branch of the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks (MSS.117).