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Tailors' unions - National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers

A brief history 

In the early 19th Century there were several tailors' unions mainly in London and Manchester and after 1860 in Leeds.

1915 - The United Garment Workers was created from an amalgamation of trade unions:
Leeds - The Amalgamated Jewish Tailors, Machinists and Pressers Trade Union (1893) and Amalgamated Union of Clothiers Operatives (1881)
Manchester - The Waterproof Garment Makers and Machinists Trade Union (1907)
London - London Society of Tailors and Tailoresses (1905), London Provincial Clothiers and Cutters Union (1889), Jewish Tailors and Tailoresses Trade Union of Great Britain and Ireland (1912) and East London Waistcoat Makers Trade Union (1909)
1918 - it absorbed the National Amalgamated Shirt, Collar and Jacket Workers union. 

1920Tailors and Garment Workers Union was formed with an amalgamation between the Scottish Operative Tailors and Tailoresses Association (1865) and the United Garment Workers Union.

1932 - the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers was formed from an amalgamation of the Tailors and Garment Workers Union and the Amalgamated Society of Tailors and Tailoresses (1866) from Manchester.

1939 -  the United Ladies Tailors Trade Union joined the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers

1972 - the Waterproof Garment Workers Trade Union , which was still independent after it left the United Garment Workers Union in 1921, joined the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers.

1991 - the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers merged with the GMB.

Tailors' unions archives in our collection

National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (TU/TAILORA)

  • Annual reports, 1915-1975
  • Executive Committee and Committee minutes, 1926-1991
  • Conference reports, 1926-1989
  • Rule books, 1921-1979
  • Circulars to the Executive board, 1936-1991
  • Other papers including shop stewards handbooks, national agreements, price lists, membership cards, correspondence, newspaper cuttings and leaflets about the union and clothing industry.
  • Branch records including Belfast, Dublin, Antrim, Down, Bolton, Bristol, Crewe, Hebden Bridge, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Medway, Nantwich, Wellingborough and Kettering and Wigan.

Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Tailors (TU/TAILORB)
(from 1902 Amalgamated Society of Tailors and Tailoresses)

  • Annual reports, 1868-1931
  • Letter book, court case transcript, contribution card and deeds and agreements.
  • Branch records including Ipswich branch, Kettering branch, Norwich branch and London district records
  • Rule books, 1922-1923

Scottish National Association of Tailors (TU/TAILORC)

  • National Executive Committee reports and Standing Committee minutes

Amalgamated Union of Clothier Operatives (TU/TAILORD)

  • Reports and balance sheets, 1894-1909
  • Monthly gazettes, 1900-1914
  • Rule book, 1913

Waterproof Garment Workers' Trade Union (TU/TAILORE)

  • Executive Committee minutes 1929-1972, conference minutes, price list, correspondence and political fund annual returns

Search the Library catalogue

Sources about tailors' unions in the Library

Anne J. Kershen, Uniting the tailors: trade unionism amongst the tailoring workers of London and Leeds, 1870-1939, Frank Cass (Ilford) 1995

Search the Library catalogue

Other records are held at the:

Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick:
National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (GB 0152 MSS.192/TGW)
Amalgamated Society of Tailors and Tailoresses (GB 0152 MSS.192/ST)

Queen Mary, University of London
National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (GB 0370 NUTGW)

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