Records of Hull Branches of Various Trade Unions, the Hull Trades Council and Hull Central Branch of the Co-Operative Women's Guild

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises the Hull branch records of the Amalgamated Society of Whitesmiths (1901-1918); the National Union of Operative Heating and Domestic Engineers, Whitesmiths and General Ironworkers (1913-1953); the National Union of Clerks (1893-1922); the United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers/National Union of Vehicle Builders (1911-1934); the Confederation of Sailmakers/Shipconstructors and Shipwrights' Association (Hull Sailmakers branch) (1908-1957); the rules and May Day and Propaganda Committees book of the Hull Trades Council (1918, 1937-1943) and the attendance and contributions register and committee minute books of the Hull branch of the Co-operative Women's Guild (1941-1968, 1948-1951).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Amalgamated Society of Whitesmiths formed in 1889 as the General Smiths, Fitters, Bellhangers and Whitesmiths Association though its membership was always only between about 200 to 300. It changed its name to the Amalgamated Society of Whitesmiths, Domestic Engineers and General Pipe Fitters and soon after, in 1908, it amalgamated with the Birmingham Society of Hot Water and Steam Engineers and the United Society of Fitters and Smiths to become the National Union of Operative Heating and Domestic Engineers and General Iron Workers (for which see separate entry for U DP/161/7-40) (Marsh & Ryan, Historical directory of trade unions, ii, p.103).

The National Union of Operative Heating and Domestic Engineers was largely formed in 1908 from a large amalgamation of very small societies of fitters and domestic engineers. The parent societies included the Amalgamated Stove, Grate and Kitchen Range Fitters Protection Society which is said to have formed in 1872, and which went through several name changes before becoming the United Society of Fitters and Smiths and the Amalgamated Society of Whitesmiths, Domestic Engineers and General Pipe Fitters (for which see separate entry for U DP/161/1-6). In 1908 the main office was in Birmingham and the membership was over 1000. There were more small mergers and name changes, in 1948 to the National Union of Operative Heating and Domestic Engineers, Whitesmiths and General Ironworkers and in 1956 to the Heating and Domestic Engineers Union, at which time the local branch records end. In 1967 the union amalgamated with the National Union of Sheet Metal Workers and Coppersmiths to form the National Union of Sheet Metal Workers, Coppersmiths, Heating and Domestic Engineers (Marsh & Ryan, Historical directory of trade unions, ii, pp.111-12).

The National Union of Clerks formed in 1890 and the minute books for the Hull branch are from this early period in the history of this trade union. It amalgamated with the small Clerks' Union in 1897 and annual conferences were held alternately in Leeds and London. In 1907 it joined the Trades Union Council and affiliated with the Labour Party. By 1910 there were over 2500 members in 100 branches. The words 'and Administrative Workers' were added to the title of the union in 1920. An attempt at Guild Socialism was abandoned in 1932. Herbert H Elvin (1874-1949) was general secretary from 1910 until 1941 in which years the union amalgamated with the Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries under the new name of the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union covering a membership of 20,000. In 1972 the name changed to the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff (Marsh & Ryan, Historical directory of trade unions, i, pp.34-5; Bellamy & Saville, Dictionary of labour biography, vi, pp.105-9).

There was a United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers in Liverpool in 1876 that was registered as a trade union in the following year. It was removed from the register in 1880. In 1895 there was another registration in the same name and it is probable that the second registration represented a later development of a single organisation. The United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers formed from the Liverpool Coachmakers Society and the Manchester Coachmakers Society after a successful joint strike in 1834. A joint conference was held in Leeds in 1848 which elected an executive committee and by 1850 the membership was over 1500. It rose to 5000 in the next decade and remained at the 5000-7000 level until just before the first world war when membership rose to 10,000. The head office moved from Leeds to Liverpool in 1850 and it affiliated to the Trades Union Council in 1872 and the Labour Party in 1906. After the first world war the society amalgamated with the London and Provincial Coachmakers Society, the Operative Coachmakers and Wheelwrights Federal Labour Union and the London Coachsmiths and Vicemen's Trade Society to become the National Union of Vehicle Builders. The records held cover this year of amalgamation. In the same year the National Union of Vehicle Builders Journal was published for the first time. There were two more big mergers in 1925 and 1948 respectively with the Amalgamated Society of Wheelwrights, Smiths and Motor Body Makers and the Wheelwrights and Coachmakers Operatives Union bringing the membership to 50,000 and in 1972 the Society became part of the Transport and General Workers Union (Marsh & Ryan, Historical directory of trade unions, ii, pp.97-99).

The Hull Trades Council formed in the nineteenth century and grew in strength with trade unionism in the 1880s. It was unusual for a Trades Council in making an early impact on education in the town with the election of two candidates to the School Board in the same decade. It has remained influential in the twentieth century.

For the history of the Co-operative Women's Guild, see the entry on the main CWG archive [U DCW].

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Purchased from K Books, Allerthorpe, 27 May 1976

Related Material

Archives of Hull branches of other trade unions are at U DX102, U DX116, U DX154, U DX168, U DSA, U DSS and U DTG

Archives of the Co-operative Women's Guild [U DCW]

Bibliography

  • Bellamy, Joyce & Saville, John (eds) Dictionary of labour biography
  • Marsh, Arthur & Ryan,Victoria, Historical directory of trade unions, ii, (1984)