Papers of Tom Mann

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence, especially with his family; notebooks; memorabilia; cuttings; papers re his visits to Russia; includes correspondence with the Pontardawe branch of the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1938.

Administrative / Biographical History

Tom Mann was born in Coventry in 1856. Starting work at the age of nine, he eventually found his trade as an engineer in Birmingham and London, joining the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in 1881. An attempt to become the union's General Secretary in 1892 failed, but Mann had already gained fame as the leader of the 1889 London dock strike, and he became President of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland in the same year. This was a post he held until 1893, during which time he was also a member of the Royal Commission on Labour. Mann's political interests also grew during this time, and he became Secretary of the Independent Labour Party in 1894. An advocate of direct trade union action, Mann was imprisoned several times, both in Britain and abroad. Mann's career was truly international, and in 1896 he founded and became the first President of the International Transport Workers' Federation. He continued to be active in the labour movement throughout his life, founding the British Communist Party in 1920, and becoming General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (1919-20) and its successor, the Amalgamated Engineering Union (1920-1). He died in 1941.

Reference: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1992).


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

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection, owned by the Tom Mann Centre Trust, was transferred to the Centre from Coventry Central Library in 1993. Papers relating to Russia were deposited in July 1994 by the Mann family.

Other Finding Aids

The collection was catalogued by Richard Storey and Richard Temple in 1998. 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.

Authority records exist for Tom Mann (GB 152 AAR0964), Ben Tillett (GB 152 AAR0960), and the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland (GB 152 AAR0174).

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.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the personal papers of Ben Tillett (MSS.74 and MSS.330) and the records of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland (MSS.126/DWR).

The Communist Party archive at the National Museum of Labour History includes papers of Tom Mann and also archives of his biographer, Dona Torr.

Geographical Names