AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): CUB
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1904-1938
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 14.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Central Committee for the Unemployed
Hollesley Bay Labour Colony x HM Prison Hollesley Bay


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Central Unemployed Body for London was set up under the Unemployed Workmen Act of 1905 (5 Edw. VII c.18) to replace the semi-official organisation known as the London Unemployed Fund established in October 1904 to alleviate some of the distress caused by unemployment. The Act provided for the establishment of a Distress Committee of the Council of every metropolitan borough, by order of the Local Government Board. The Act also provided for the foundation of a Central Body for the administrative county of London, consisting partly of members of and selected by the Distress Committees of the London County Council and partly of coopted members. At least one member of each committee and of the Central Body was to be a woman. The Act also provided for the setting up of Distress Committees in boroughs and urban districts outside London, but the Central Body with its federated structure was unique.

The Central Body derived its funds partly from voluntary subscriptions (mainly provided by the "Queens Unemployment Fund") and partly from rates; expenditure from the latter source being strictly circumscribed. The function of the Distress Committees was to inquire into the conditions of labour in their districts and to receive and sift applications for assistance. The Central Body was empowered to supervise and co-ordinate the work of the Distress Committees, to establish, take over or assist employment exchanges and to help applicants recommended by the Distress Committees by aiding their emigration or migration or by providing or contributing towards the provision of temporary work.

By 1909 the Central Body had 25 employment exchanges distributed throughout London, but these were transferred in 1910 to the Board of Trade under the Labour Exchanges Act 1909 (9 Edw.VII c.7). Work was provided in and around London mainly in parks and open spaces and emigrants were granted loans. Several temporary working colonies were established but the only permanent colony was at Hollesley Bay, Suffolk, which was established by the London Unemployed Fund with the help of Joseph Fells in February 1905 and was taken over by the Central Body. With the outbreak of the 1914 war the Central Body became largely redundant and after the war, owing to lack of funds and support from the government, its work was much reduced. The Unemployed Workmen Organization (London) (Revocation) Order of 1930, made by the Minister of Health, abolished both the Distress Committees and the Central Body and the property, debts and liabilities of the latter were transferred to the London County Council. The Hollesley Bay Colony was administered by the Council in much the same way as by the Central Body until its purchase by the Ministry of Labour in 1937.


Scope and content/abstract:

Minutes of the Central Committee for the Unemployed and various sub-committees, 1904-1905.

Minutes of the Central Unemployed Body for London, 1905-1930, with minutes, agendas and reports of sub-committees including the Classification Committee, Emigration Committee, Employment Exchanges Committee, Finance Committee, Hollesley Bay Rota Committee, Women's Work Committee, Local Advisory Committees, Working Colonies Committee, Works Committee and Special and Joint Committees. Also legal papers, 1905-1914, including tenancy agreements, insurance policies, agreements to supply labour for carrying out works and retention of services of clerical staff on war service; file regarding Workmen's Compensation Insurance, 1906; file regarding deputation to the Local Government Board, 1900s; correspondence with the Ministry of Health, 1919-1929; correspondence regarding activities of the Central Unemployed Body, 1905-1928; annual reports, 1906-1930; report on work in workrooms for women, 1915; report on employment of disabled soliders and sailors, 1915; report on Salvation Army Colonies, 1905; emigration and immigration tables, 1914; report on trade and employment after the First World War, 1916; standing orders, 1906-1913; newspaper cuttings, 1905-1930; emigration register, 1909; Sailing Register (giving age, occupation, destination and number of dependents), 1912-1914; emigration loan registers, 1906-1915; financial records, 1905-1930; plans showing a proposed swimming pool at Burnham on Crouch, 1900s.

Papers relating to the Hollesley Bay Labour Colony including particulars of the sale of the Colonial College, report of surveyors and legal papers, 1903-1926; subject files, 1914-1938, on various subjects including emigration, payment of war bonus to staff, schemes of work, employment of discharged soldiers, administration of the Colony, reports of London Boards of Guardians, publicity, Burnt House Farm, accidents, and sale of the Colony to Prison Commissioners; papers regarding staff including salary forms, 1930-1938; individual case notes, cards and registers of inmates, 1930-1938, including register of applications, admissions and discharge registers and creed register; visitor's books, 1922-1938 and cash books, 1907-1930.

County of London Appeal Tribunal (for Conscientous Objectors) minutes, 1916-1918.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

CUB/1-79: Minutes; CUB/80-89: Legal agreements; CUB/90-93: Correspondence; CUB/94-100; Annual reports; CUB/101-131: General reports; CUB/132-137: Emigration; CUB/138-154: Financial; CUB/155-156: Plans; CUB/157-242: Hollesley Bay Labour Colony; CUB/243-244: County of London Appeal Tribunal.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The signed minutes of the Central Body prior to 1919 were it seems accidently destroyed prior to the hand-over to the Council. A few of the other records, including one box of personal index cards, were destroyed by enemy action during the 1939-45 war. The minutes and a register of the County of London Appeal Tribunal (Conscientous Objectors), 1916-18, were transferred to the Council with the records of the C.U.B.L., since the Tribunal was staffed by the C.U.B.L. establishment, and references to these are therefore given in this list.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The bulk of the collection was acquired with the records of the parent body, the London County Council. Some records were given to the Archive in 1954 (AC/54/029 and AC/54/065).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
April to June 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"