Papers of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Iron and Steel Trades Confederation: reports and financial statements of the predecessor British Steel Smelters' Amalgamated Association, 1886-1902; trade reports, 1939-46; Quarterly and Annual Reports , 1923-1990; Journal ( Men and Metal from 1923), 1917-79, and other miscellaneous publications; extensive correspondence and subject files, 1880s-1970s, including the following subject files relating to South Wales, arranged alphabetically by company:

Avonvale Tinplate Co., Pontnewydd, 1942; Baglan Bay Engineering Branch, 1908-33; Baldwins Ltd (Panteg Steel Works, near Newport, 1902-45; Elba Steel Works, Gowerton, 1900-27; Landore Steel Works, near Swansea, 1896-1932; Kings Dock Works, Swansea, 1915-49; Baldwin's Guest Keen Margam Iron and Steel Works, Port Talbot, 1918-30; Margam Coke Branch, 1920-27; Baldwin's, formerly New Elba Tinplate Co., Kings Dock, Swansea, 1915-50. Port Talbot, Margam and Abbey Joint Committee, 1937-61); Basic Slag Mills, including Ebbw Vale, 1944-65; Blaenavon Iron & Steel Company (schedules of rates, agreements and correspondence, 1915-22; article and papers, 1910-46); British (Baldwin Guest Keen) Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, Port Talbot, 1931-53; Richard Thomas and Baldwins Ltd (Ebbw Vale Works, 1937-62; plant at Llanelly [earlier R. Thomas & Co], 1889-1958; Spencer Works, Llanwern, 1959-66); British Mannesman Tube Co Ltd at Landore and Newport, 1904-36; British Steel Smelters, Mill, Iron, Tinplate and Kindred Trades Association (reports, including South Wales Distress Fund accounts, 1898; sale particulars of Llanberis Slate Quarry, 1910); Briton Ferry Steel Company, 1897-1920; Brockmoor (Tin Mills) 1919-21; Bryngwyn Steel Co. Ltd., Gorseinon, Glamorgan, 1908-26; Robert Byass & Co., Port Talbot, 1943; Clayton Tinplate Co. Ltd., Pontarddulais, 1936; coke workers' rates (agreements, etc., including Ebbw Vale), 1922-24; Cwmavon Tinplate Works, 1889-1925; Cwmfelyn Steel & Tinplate Co Ltd, Swansea, 1897-1915; Cordes Dos Works, Newport, 1915-60; Dyffryn Steel & Tinplate Works, Morriston, Swansea, 1903-47 (and Welfare Association 14th Annual Report); Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron & Coal Co., 1900-33; Ebbw Vale Sheet Mills (reports and minutes, 1919, 1924); National Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ebbw Vale (agreement about boiler firemen, 1919); W. Gilbertson & Sons, Pontardawe, 1896-1941; Glynhir Tinplate Co Ltd, Pontarddulais, 1936-43; Glanmor Foundry Co. Ltd, Llanelly: letter, 1920; Godins Ltd, Newport: records, 1941-2 (and illustrated article, c.1920-30); Gorse Galvanising Co. Ltd., Dafen Works, Llanelly, 1907-38; Grovesend Steel & Tinplate Co Ltd, Gorseinon (survey, correspondence, minutes, etc., [?from 1896], 1917-48); Guest Keen & Nettlefolds Ltd, [also GKN] (East Moors, Cardiff Works, c.1911-60, 1924; Dowlais Works, Cardiff Branch, 1897-1924; Dowlais Iron & Steel Works, Glamorgan, c.1911-60, 1918; Castle Works, Rogerstone, near Newport, Monmouthshire, Cwmbran Works, c.1911-60, 1907-43); Guest, Keen & Baldwin's (Cardiff Works) (pensions, etc), [c.1915-53]; Gwalia Tinplate Works, 1908-29; Kidwelly Tinplate Co Ltd., Carmarthen, 1923; Landore Tube Workers (union papers), 1919, n.d. [?part of Baldwin's]; John Lysaght Ltd, Orb Works Ltd., Newport (minutes and other records, 1901-52; rules of Lysaght's Workmen's Club; settlement re Newport women crane drivers, 1918; Orb Works Whitley Committee (minutes), 1919-39); Mardy Tinplate Co., Gorseinon, 1913, 1920; Mechanical Service, South Wales, 1900-1920; melters' rates for South Wales inter alia, 1890-1907; Melyn Tinplate Works/Branch, 1896-1920; Melyn Tinplate Co., Neath, 1900, 1919-20; Melyngriffith Co. Ltd., Whitchurch, Cardiff, 1908-20; Metal Box Co, Eaglesbush Tinplate Works, Neath, 1938-65; Monmouthshire Steel & Tinplate Co. Ltd (arbitration case), 1916; Morfa Branch (correspondence), 1897-1920; Morriston and Midland Tinplate Co. Ltd (records), 1903-20; Neepsend Rolling Mills Ltd. (records), 1918-20, 1962-3; New Crown Forgings Ltd, Landore and Newport, 1940-44; Newport Docks (report of dispute), [?1920s]; Newport Rivet Co. (report), 1920; Newport & South Wales Tube Co. Ltd., Landore and Newport (records), 1930-47; Old Castle Iron & Tinplate Co., Llanelly (Joint Committee minutes, etc.), 1903-31; Old Lodge Tinplate Co. Ltd, Llanelly, 1908-21; Partridge, Jones & John Paton Ltd, Pontnewynydd, 1911-61; Pemberton Tinplate Co. Ltd, Llanelly, 1916-37; Pontymister Steel & Tinplate Co. Ltd., Monmouthshire, 1896-1920; Port Talbot Steel Co. Ltd, 1908-29; Rees, Morgan E. & Co., engineers, St David's Works, Morriston, 1920 (and St David's Branch, 1907-20 [?same firm]); Resolven Tinplate Co. Ltd., Clyne, near Neath, 1919-20; Richard Thomas & Co. Ltd. (Ebbw Vale Works, 1937-54, including Joint Committee minutes about employment of female assorters, 1939, and article about the Victoria Steel Works, Ebbw Vale, from Iron and Coal Trades Review , 1938; Ebbw Vale Co. Ltd. Victoria Branch no. 4 wage claim, 1919; Llantrisant Branch records, 1907-20); Siemens Basic Steel Makers Association (agreement, 1896; minutes, [1896?]-1900); South Wales and Monmouthshire employers (arbitration papers), 1919; South Wales and Monmouthshire Sliding Scale Joint Committee, 1914-62; South Wales and Monmouthshire Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association (minutes, etc.), 1916-63; South Wales and Monmouthshire Steel Makers Association, 1910-19; South Wales and Monmouthshire Workmen's Joint Committee, 1891-1931; South Wales Basic Slag Co., 1919; South Wales engineering employers (claims, 1921; agreements, etc., re Baglan Bay Engineering Branch); South Wales, etc. (gasproducermen's rates), 1916-44; South Wales Institute of Engineers ( Tinplate Machinery), 1922; South Wales metal refineries (aluminium rates), [c.1943-59]; South Wales (sheet mills arbitration report), 1904; South Wales Siemens Steel Association, 1899-1949; South Wales Siemens Steel Trades (including Joint Board and Area Council minutes, etc.), 1896-1967; South Wales Steel Trade (holidays), 1912-1919; South Wales Tinplate and Sheet Trades (war bonuses, etc.; Committee on Production Awards), 1915-1917; South Wales (details of union benefits), 1911-12; Steel Company of Wales, Abbey Works and Port Talbot, 1947-54 (including Port Talbot and Abbey Works brochure); Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd, Newport, 1933-68; Swansea Steel Products Ltd, Morriston, 1935-40; Swansea Rural District Council Annual Sanitary Report, 1926; Talbot Furnaces, 1909-48; Tinplate and Welsh Sheet Trade (including Sliding Scale Committee minutes and papers, 1920-40; delegates' conference papers, 1956-58; claims papers, 1920-27; war bonuses, 1915-17); Tredegar Iron & Coal Company Ltd, 1907-49; United Tube Corporation Ltd., Newport No. 2 branch, 1916-19; Upper Forest Steel & Tinplate Co Ltd. (Morriston, Glamorgan 1897-1940; Forest Bar Mill Branch, 1900-15; Forest Sheet Mills branch, 1915-20); Villiers Tinplate Co. Ltd., Victoria Works, Briton Ferry (schedule of rates and list of millmen), 1920-21; Wellfield Galvanising Co. Ltd, Llanelly, 1919, 1937; Welsh Engineers and Founders Conciliation Board (constitution and rules of procedure, 1936; correspondence, etc., 1921-38); Welsh Sheet and Plate Manufacturers' Association, 1910-56; Welsh sheet mill rates and minutes, 1899-1932; Welsh plate and sheet trades (sliding scale booklet), 1929; Wern Tinplate Co. Ltd, Briton Ferry (list of millmen, etc.), 1908-29; Western Tinplate Works Ltd. Llanelly, 1899-1941; Whitehead's Deighton Iron & Steel Works, Tredegar, 1909; Whitford Steel Sheet & Galvanising Co Ltd., 1912-51; Whitford Steel Sheet & Galvanising Co. Ltd., Briton Ferry, 1917-26; South Wales (rates, correspondence, reports, etc at Abertillery, Burry Branch, Bynea, Gorseinon, Grovesend, Pontardawe and Pontrhydyrun Branches, c.1896-1962; eight hour day, 1918-19); South Wales (election ephemera, Monmouthshire, 1910-28; correspondence and election ephemera concerning ISTC sponsored Labour candidates, including those at Newport and Pontypool, 1919-44).

Cleveland and Durham Blastfurnacemen's Society: executive committee minutes, 1908-15; council minutes, 1914-21; Ormesby Lodge minutes, 1918-30.

National Federation of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners and Kindred Trades: annual conference proceedings, 1897-1918; Cumberland and Lancashire District Executive Committee minutes, 1890-1913.

National Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners, Coke Workers and Kindred Trades: executive committee minutes, 1928-85; delegate board minutes, 1921-82; annual general council minutes, 1927-83; subject files, 1970s-80s; Consett Coke Lodge minutes, 1970-80; agreements, 1918-19.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC), the largest union in the steel industry, was formed in 1917. The British Steel Smelters, Mill, Iron, Tinplate and Kindred Trades Association (founded 1886), the Associated Iron and Steel Workers of Great Britain (founded 1887) and the National Steel Workers' Associated Engineering and Labour League (founded 1888) formed the Confederation and agreed to transfer their industrial relations functions to the new organisation. The confederated unions were restricted thereafter to membership and benefit administration and recruited no new members. New members joined the British Iron, Steel and Kindred Trades Association, the central association of the ISTC. By means of these complicated arrangements the legal restrictions on amalgamations, imposed by the Trade Union (Amalgamation) Act 1917, were circumvented. The Amalgamated Society of Steel and Iron Workers (founded 1888) and the Tin and Sheet Millmen's Association (founded 1899) joined the ISTC in 1919 and 1921 respectively. In 1924 the Constructional Engineering Union was formed by the transfer of members to it by ISTC confederated unions.

In 1985 the National Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners, Coke Workers and Kindred Trades transferred its engagements to the ISTC. The origins of this union lay in a number of local associations of blastfurnacemen which came together in the National Federation of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners and Kindred Trades in 1892. This federation had developed from the National Association of Blastfurnacemen which had been formed in 1887 by the merger of the Cleveland Association of Blastfurnacemen and the Cumberland Association of Blastfurnacemen. The local associations came together to form the national union in 1921, after which date the union remained strongly independent until it finally decided to transfer its engagement to the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation.

Reference: Sir Arthur Pugh, Men of steel (London, 1951).


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Material deposited in 2000 is closed for thirty years or until it has been catalogued and assessed restrictions under the Data Protection Act.

Acquisition Information

The first deposit of this collection was made by the ISTC in April 1974. Further deposits were received in March 1977, July 1977, September 1977, November 1977, September 1978, February 1979, April 1990, January 1996, December 1997 and November 2000.

Other Finding Aids

Part of the archive was catalogued to file level by Alistair Tough in 1984. A copy of this catalogue, with an index, 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.

Authority records exist for the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (GB 152 AAR1248), and also for the British Steel Smelters, Mill, Iron, Tinplate and Kindred Trades Association (GB 152 AAR1249), Associated Iron and Steel Workers of Great Britain (GB 152 AAR1250), National Steel Workers' Association, Engineering and Labour League (GB 152 AAR1251),British Iron, Steel and Kindred Trades Association (GB 152 AAR1252), Tin and Sheet Millmen's Association (GB 152 AAR1253), Amalgamated Society of Steel and Iron Workers (GB 152 AAR1254), National Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners, Coke Workers and Kindred Trades (GB 152 AAR1256), National Federation of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners and Kindred Trades (GB 152 AAR1257), National Association of Blastfurnacemen (GB 152 AAR1258), Cleveland Association of Blastfurnacemen (GB 152 AAR1259) and Cumberland Association of Blastfurnacemen (GB 152 AAR1260).

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 expected.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the papers of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (Foundry Section) (MSS.41), MSF, including the papers of a number of foundry unions (MSS.101), British Iron and Steel Federation (MSS.365), Engineering Employers' West Midlands Association (MSS.265) and UK Steel Association (MSS.383).

The records of ISTC's South Wales Division are held by the University of Wales Swansea.