Graphical version

Queen Mary, University of London



Reference code(s): GB 0370 NUTGW

Held at: Queen Mary, University of London


Date(s): 1937-1989

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 395 files and 159 volumes

Name of creator(s): National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers


Administrative/Biographical history:

A guild or union existed amongst tailors' servingmen and journeymen in London as long ago as 1417 but the history of the present Union and its predecessors is only recorded from the later 19th Century. The National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (NUTGW) existed as an independent body until 1991 when it joined the General Municipal and Boilermakers (GMB). At the time of the merger, the NUTGW was itself the result of many amalgamations. In 1912 the United Garment Workers' Union was formed by the amalgamation of the Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Tailors; Amalgamated Union of Clothiers' Operatives; Amalgamated Jewish Tailors, Pressers and Machinists' Trade Union; London Clothiers Cutters; The Shirt, Jacket and Overall Workers; and The Belfast Shirt and Collar Workers. These were later joined by the Scottish National Association of Operative Tailors; London Operative Tailors; and Amalgamated Society of Tailors and Tailoresses. In 1931 these became the NUTGW with the addition of the United Ladies Tailors (London) and the Waterproof Garment Workers' Union.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence files of the General Secretary and the Assistant Secretary of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, 1937-1989, mainly relating to agreements with various manufacturers, businesses, organisations, and other trade unions, and to union organisation; also includes a "History" file, 1860-1970, and a collection of trade union rule books, 1912-1963; printed works, comprising The Garment Worker: official organ of the Tailors' and Garment Workers' Union, 1926-1991; Circulars to Executive Board Officials and Branches, 1954-1985; Minutes of Special Executive Meetings, 1953-1955, 1960-1968; Membership Summary, 1951-1970; Report of Proceedings of General Conference, 1963-1989.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged into the following series, by function. The files within each series are arranged chronologically, with the exception of series 2, which is arranged alphabetically by organisation name. 1. Financial reports. 2. Correspondence of the General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary. 3. Correspondence and papers. 4. Membership survey. 5. General Secretary minutes special executive meetings with employers organisations etc. 6. Circulars to Executive Board offficials and branches. 7. Conference reports on proceedings. 8. The Garment Worker. 9. Labour Party Annual Reports. 10. Labour: The Workers Magazine. 11. Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers Associations 1965-1968. 12. Industrial Tribunals.

Conditions governing access:

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: For more information about the Archives see the website:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist. Applications for copies for research or publication should be made to the Archivist: Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 7873, email:

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Listed by Michael Keating, 1995. Detailed catalogue available in the Library of Queen Mary and Westfield.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:

Non-NUTGW journals and books have been moved into library stock.


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited with Department of Political Studies, Queen Mary and Westfield, in 1991.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers: biennial conferences, 1937-1961: reports of proceedings; Executive Board minutes, 1932-1964 (incomplete); various sets of circulars, 1937-1989 (incomplete); The Garment Worker, 1932-1938, 1945-1989 (Ref: MSS.192/TGW); Public Record Office of Northern Ireland holds papers of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers dating from 1883 (Ref: D.1050); Aberdeen University Special Collections holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers (Aberdeen Branch), Official records, 1898-1952 (Ref: MS 2656); Working Class Movement Library, Salford, holds National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers/Waterproof Garment Workers Union Shop stewards handbooks, membership books and national agreements.

Publication note:

Ann Kershen Uniting the Tailors (1994).



Archivist's note: Compiled by Janet Foster as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: January 2009

Clothing | Textiles
Collective agreements | Collective bargaining | Trade unions | Labour relations
Craft workers | Skilled workers | Workers | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Labour movements | Labour relations

Personal names

Corporate names
National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers