The Associated Shipwrights' Society was formed in 1872, through amalgamation of many of the small and long-established local shipwrights' societies that existed in Britain at this time. In the later nineteenth century, a separate Ship Constructive Association was formed by shipwrights working in the Royal Naval Dockyards. The two organisations co-existed until the period c.1900 - 1910, between which dates they joined with the National Society of Drillers, and the Amalgamated Society of Drillers and Hole Cutters, to form the Ship Constructive (later, Constructors') and Shipwrights' Association.
The association merged with the United Society of Boilermakers, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers, and the Associated Blacksmiths, Forge and Smithy Workers' Society, to form the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers, in January 1963.
The Associated Shipwrights' Society is one of 12 organisations which formed the Confederation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Trades in 1891. The confederation was formed in response to a large number of demarcation disputes which were occurring in the industry at this time.
David Dougan, The Shipwrights: the history of the Shipconstructors' and Shipwrights' Association, 1882 - 1963 (Newcastle upon Tyne: Graham, 1975) contains more details about the organisation. 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.