Scope and Content

The collection contains family photographs, the official certificates ofappointments and a copy of his funeral service:

  • 1. Photographs of GN Barnes' sons taken during World War I, c 1914-1918
  • 2. Press cuttings re Versailles Conference, nd
  • 3. Photographs of GN Barnes, some with his wife and daughter, c 1933 -1936
  • 4. Letters of appointment and honours, 1916 - 1920
  • 5. General family photographs, nd
  • 6. Co-operative Printing Society London Branch papers, c 1930
  • 7. Funeral order of service, 25 April 1940

Administrative / Biographical History

George Barnes 1859 - 1940

Barnes was born in 1859 at Lochee, Forfar and married Jessie Landlands ofDundee in 1882; they had two sons and a daughter. He was apprenticed as anengineer and began his political career as Assistant Secretary to theAmalgamated Society of Engineers and then as General Secretary, 1896 - 1908.Barnes joined the Independent Labour Party and unsuccessfully contestedRochdale in 1895. He was a delegate at the formation of the LabourRepresentation Committee in 1900. Barnes was elected for Glasgow Blackfriarsfrom in 1906 and continued to represent the constituency until 1918. Barnesresigned from the Labour Party in 1918, from which date he led the NationalDemocratic Party and sat for Glasgow Gorbals from 1918 to 1922 when heretired.

Barnes held several positions within the Labour Party and the governmentduring his political career. He was Vice Chairman of the Labour Party in theHouse of Commons, 1908 - 1910, and Chairman, 1910 - 1911. He was Chief of theOrganising Department of the Independent Labour Party in 1909. In governmenthe was Minister for Pensions, December 1916 - August 1917, member withoutportfolio of the War Cabinet, August 1917 - October 1919 and thereconstructed Cabinet, October 1919 - January 1920.

He attended the Versailles Peace Conference as minister plenipotentiaryprotesting against the reparations clauses and playing a role in making theInternational Labour Organisation party of the League of Nations.

George Nicoll Barnes died in 1940.

His publications include:

  • Karl Marx(1900)
  • Old age pensions(1905)
  • The problem of the unemployed(1908)
  • Henry George(1909)
  • Robert Burns(1909)
  • The unemployed problem(1909)
  • Development of co-operative effort: some ways and means(1913)
  • [Report of the] Commission of Enquiry into Industrial Unrest(1917)
  • Labour: its aims and objects: a speech to the Commercial Committee, House ofCommons...March 20, 1918(1918)
  • The religion in the Labour movement / International Conference on Labour andReligion (1919: London)(1919)
  • Labour as an international problem: a series of essays comprising a shorthistory of the International Labour Organisation and a review of generalindustrial problems (1920)
  • The industrial section of the League of Nations (1920)
  • From workshop to war cabinet (1923)
  • Industrial conflict, the way out: a study of the industrial problem in itspractical aspects (1924)
  • History of the International labour office (1926)
  • Origins of the I.L.O.: a paper (1929)


The collection has been arranged into 7 files

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Angela Burrill

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