The Blastfurnacemen Union was started in Cleveland in the north of England in 1878 when theblastfurnacemen belonging to the Amalgamated Iron Steel Workers of Great Britain decided to begintheir own union. Blastfurnacemen in other parts of the country established independent unions on aregional basis (Derbyshire had a local association by 1892) and the National Federation ofBlastfurnacemen was created to give them a national voice. The Federation remained outside the Ironand Steel Trades Confederation (established in 1917) preferring to unite its component parts in theNational Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners, Coke Workers and Kindred Trades. In 1937, the Unionhad 13,620 Trades Union Congress members and 8,062 Labour Party members.
As a result of a drop in membership, the Union amalgamated with the Iron and Steel TradesConfederation in 1985.
The Blastfurnacemen Union was divided into 'lodges', local branches based on the workplace unit.The dates of the formation and winding up of the Ilkeston Lodge have not been ascertained. The lodgemeetings were held in a variety of clubs and public houses. The statements [invoices] in thiscollection are addressed to the National Union of Blastfurnacemen at the Stanton Ironworks inIlkeston and it may have been here where many of the lodge's members were employed.