Papers of the Transport and General Workers' Union

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Various series of minutes, 1922-77, including Docks Trade Group National Committee, 1922-77, Chemical Section National Committee, 1946-77 and Clerical National Trade Group Committee, 1922-9, 1934-65 (including a great deal of material concerning the union's involvement in policy-making for the motor industry at a European level in the 1990s); annual reports, 1922-74;  The Record, 1921-present (incomplete); subject files; Research Department information files; conference reports; TGWU Trades Union Congress Committee papers, 1925-55; photographs, mainly of conferences; correspondence of James Sexton, 1913-38; correspondence files on the TGWU's relationship with the National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers, 1950-69, on the Port of Liverpool Staff Association, 1969-70, on civil defence, c. 1954-6, and on the 1989 docks strike; briefing notes annotated by Ernest Bevin for Dockers' Court of Inquiry, 1920 and Tramway Inquiry, 1921; Ben Tillett's letters to Arthur Creech Jones, 1938-39.

National Busworkers' Association, 1950-54: material collected by TGWU (MSS.126/TG/3/Sack 31).

National Passenger Workers' Union, 1938-43: documentation collected by TGWU in course of its disputes with NPWU (MSS.126/TG/3/Sack 31; 90-1; 133).

London Carmen's Trade Union/National Union of Vehicle Workers: branch minutes, 1906-18.

National Union of Co-operative Insurance Society Employees: National Executive Committee minutes, 1923-52.

North Wales Quarrymen's Union: branch minute books, 1910-40.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Transport and General Workers' Union was formed in 1922 by the amalgamation of fourteen unions: the Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen; the Amalgamated Carters, Lurrymen and Motormen's Union; the Amalgamated Association of Carters and Motormen; the Associated Horsemen's Union; the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland; the Labour Protection League; the National Amalgamated Labourers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland; the National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs; the National Association of Ships' Clerks, Grain Weighers and Coalmeters; the National Union of Vehicle Workers; the National Amalgamated Coal Porters' Union of Inland and Seaborne Coal Workers; the North of England Trimmers and Teemers' Association; the North of Scotland Horse and Motormen's Association; and the United Vehicle Workers. Since then the TGWU has continued to absorb many other trade unions, notably the National Union of Dock, Riverside and General Workers in Great Britain and Ireland in 1922, the Workers' Union in 1929, the National Association of Operative Plasterers in 1968, the Chemical Workers' Union in 1971, the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers in 1981, and the National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers in 1982.

Reference: K. Coates and T. Topham, The Making of the Labour Movement: The formation of the Transport and General Workers' Union, 1870-1922 (Oxford : Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1991).

Arrangement

Reflecting the structure of the Transport and General Workers' Union, the archive has many constituent parts. All of the material deposited by the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) is given the reference number MSS.126. It has then been subdivided so that archives relating to the TGWU itself are given the reference MSS.126/TG and archives of a constituent are given a reference such as MSS.126/DWS (for the National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs).

The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see http://www.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/mrcclass.shtml. It is compatible with  ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Prior written permission to consult the archive is required. Researchers should apply to Mr Ray Collins, TGWU, Transport House, 128 Theobold's Road, Holborn London, WC1X 8TD. A standard twenty year closure rule is applied.

Acquisition Information

The initial deposit was made by the TGWU in April 1976. Further deposits were made July 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Other Finding Aids

Part of the archive was catalogued to file level by Janet Druker in 1977 and Richard Storey in 1995. A copy of this catalogue is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources. Box lists exist for the remainder of the archive and may be consulted in the Centre's searchroom.

Authority records exist for the the Transport and General Workers' Union (GB 152 AAR0168), National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers' Society (GB 152 AAR0197), National Busworkers' Association (GB 152 AAR1037), London Carmen's Trade Union (GB 152 AAR0183), National Union of Vehicle Workers (GB 152 AAR0183), National Passenger Workers' Union (GB 152 AAR0427), National Union of Co-operative Insurance Society Employees (GB 152 AAR0242), North Wales Quarrymen's Union (GB 152 AAR0221), Ben Tillett (GB 152 AAR0960), Arthur Creech Jones (GB 152 AAR1927) and Sir James Sexton (GB 152 AAR1928).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Appraisal Information

Part of this collection has been weeded for duplicates.

Accruals

Further deposits are expected.

Related Material

The following unions are all constituents of the Transport and General Workers' Union whose records are to some extent located in the Modern Records Centre: Amalgamated Association of Tramway and Vehicle Workers (MSS.126/ATVW); Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland (MSS.126/DWR); National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs (MSS.126/DWS); Grimsby Steam and Diesel Fishing Vessels' Engineers' and Firemen's Union (MSS.126/GE); London and Provincial Coachmakers' Society (MSS.126/LP); London and Provincial Union of Licenced Vehicle Workers (MSS.126/LVW); London Cab Drivers' Trade Union (MSS.126/CD); National Amalgamated Union of Enginemen, Firemen, Mechanics and Electrical Workers (MSS.126/NAUE); National Union of Dock, Riverside and General Workers in Great Britain and Ireland (MSS.126/NUDL); National Association of Operative Plasterers (MSS.126/OP); Scottish Commercial Motormen's Union (MSS.126/SHMA); Scottish National Plasterers' Union (MSS.126/SP); United Vehicle Workers (MSS.126/UVW); National Union of Vehicle Builders (MSS.126/VB); Amalgamated Wheelwrights, Smiths and Kindred Trades Union (MSS.126/WH); Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen (MSS.126/WL); National Glass Workers' Trade Protection Association and predecessor organisations (MSS.126/YG); Union of Bookmakers' Employees (MSS.126/BE); Workers' Union (MSS.126/WU); and National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers' Society (MSS.360).

The Centre also holds the papers of Ernest Bevin (MSS.126/EB) and Jack Jones (MSS.126/JJ), both former General Secretaries of the TGWU, and Ben Tillett (MSS.74), first International and Political Secretary of the union.

The following Transport and General Workers' Union branch records are also held in the Centre: Coventry District and Rugby Branch (MSS.208); 5/195 Black Country Transport Branch (MSS.245); Rover Solihull 5/357 Branch (MSS.356); and West Midlands Region (MSS.251).

The Board of Trade Library, which is also held at the Centre, contains annual reports from several of the Transport and General Workers' Union's predecessor unions, including the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union, 1890-1905.