Friendly Union of Mechanics

Scope and Content

Inauguration poster, 1800s; membership certificate, 1832

Administrative / Biographical History

The Friendly Union of Mechanics was formed in July 1826 and operated initially from Manchester. The Union may stem from the United Steam Engine and Machine Makers' Society which was formed in Bradford in 1822 and had branches in Lancashire (although this Society did not recruit many members). There is evidence from the account book in the name of the Manchester No. 1 branch that there was an earlier Society based in Manchester of which the Union was a direct successor. The book contains 592 names from branches in Leeds, Bolton, Salford and other Lancashire towns. The Union became the Journeymen Steam Engine and Machine Makers' Friendly Society through amalgamation with the Mechanics' Friendly Union Institution in 1837. It subsequently merged with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in 1850.

Reference: J.B. Jeffreys, The Story of the Engineers( London, 1945; repr. 1970).

Reference: Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan Historical Directory of Trade Unions Volume 2( Gower Publishing Company, 1984).

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

These papers form part of a large collection that has been deposited in the Modern Records Centre over a number of years. Most of the Records came from the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (Engineering Section). The first deposits were made in 1984 with further deposits have been made up to 1997.

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.