The Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners [A.S.C.J.] was established in Aberdeen by July 1885, and by 1921 there were 3 branches active in the city. Its name was changed to the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters, Cabinetmakers and Joiners, probably after merging with the Amalgamated Union of Cabinetmakers c 1917, though the records deposited here remain inconclusive on this point. In 1921, it became the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers [A.S.W.]. Other local branches were established in Peterhead on 7 Feb 1914, in Keith by 1938, and in Turriff by 1942.
The Associated Carpenters' and Joiners' Society [A.C.J.S.] had merged with the A.S.C.J. in 1911. The 'Associated' society was itself, formed in 1861, with a membership of 34 in Aberdeen at that time. Its members played an integral part in founding the Aberdeen Trades Council in 1868, and during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were involved in a number of high profile disputes and strike actions for improved working hours and pay.
The records deposited here by the A.S.W. suggest that there may have been other societies representing woodworking employees in and around Aberdeen in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their history and chronology have not been established, indeed, they may simply represent alternative names by which the three main organisations described above, were known.
Further information about the development of the trade union movement and the history of individual trade unions in Aberdeen can be found in William Diack, History of the Trades Council and the Trade Union Movement in Aberdeen (Aberdeen: Aberdeen Trades Council, 1939), and in Kenneth D. Buckley, Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1870 - 1900 (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1955). Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, 4 vols (Aldershot: Gower, 1980 - 1984) also contains useful information about the development of individual unions, at both the national and local level. Summarised details from each of these sources has been used in compiling this collection level description.