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TUCKWELL, Gertrude (1861-1951)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1924 Tuckwell
Held at: Trades Union Congress (TUC) Library Collections and University Archives at London Metropolitan University
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Full title: TUCKWELL, Gertrude (1861-1951)
Date(s): 1890-1951
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 40 boxes
Name of creator(s): Tuckwell | Gertrude Mary | 1861-1951 | trade unionist social worker and author
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Gertrude Tuckwell was born in Oxford in 1861, and educated at home by her father, a master at New College School, before training to be a teacher. She went to London in 1885 to start her career but became secretary to Emily Dilke (1840-1904), her aunt, wife of Sir Charles Dilke, and a writer, suffragette and trade unionist. Through this association Gertrude Tuckwell became interested in politics, becoming an early member of the Labour Party, and active as a trade union organiser and campaigner for women's rights. In 1891 she became involved with the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL), working as its secretary and editor of its journal, the Women's Trade Union Review before becoming president of the League in 1905. In 1908 she also became president of the National Federation of Women Workers (NFWW) which had been founded in 1906 through the WTUL. She remained active in both organisations until 1918 when she announced her retirement and withdrew effectively from January 1921 when the WTUL merged its work with that of the Trades Union Congress. Tuckwell was one of the first women to be a Justice of the Peace and in 1926 served on the Royal Commission on National Health Insurance. Tuckwell also became involved in the struggle for protective legislation in the international arena and joined the executive committee of the International Association for Labour Legislation in 1906. She also maintained the Christian Socialist tradition of her family and from 1898 was secretary of the Christian Social Union Research Committee. A life-long philanthropist, Gertrude Tuckwell died in 1951. Publications: The State and its Children (1894).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Gertrude Tuckwell, mainly relating to her period with the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL), c.1890-1921. The papers comprise correspondence and notes as well as a substantial press cuttings collection, pamphlets and reports. The collection was systematically assembled by Tuckwell, to illuminate key issues and events in women's struggle for equality and representation. Major legislative initiatives are covered, as are social issues and the activities of political parties. The subjects cover the whole range of contemporary issues relating to women's political and employment rights, including anti-sweating campaigns, trade union organisation, health and safety in factories and workshops, Labour Party and Co-operative Movement activities, suffrage campaigns, and issues relating to women at work during World War One. In addition to this main set of papers, there is a typescript of "Reminiscences", her unpublished autobiography, and files of correspondence, articles and personal papers,1907-1951.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers had been arranged by subject and stored in folders marked with a general descriptive heading and number. This arrangement has been retained although some large items which were being damaged by folding have been removed and stored flat

Conditions governing access:

Open to bona fide researchers at the discretion of the Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No copying of originals because of fragility.

Finding aids:

List, 1998.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Part of the collection is thought to have been deposited with the TUC Library in 1921, but other files were deposited in the late 1950s after her death.

Immediate source of acquisition:

TUC Library

Allied Materials

Related material:

TUC Library holds papers and publications of the Women's Trade Union League.

British Library, Department of Special Collections holds correspondence and papers relating to life of Sir Charles Dilke, 1907-1946 (Ref: Add MSS 43967, 49612) and 24 letters from Mark Pattison, 1879-1883 (Ref: Add MS 44886).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

J Bellamy and J Saville (eds) Dictionary of Labour Biography, Vol. VI (1982) pp.253-259; J Morris `The Gertrude Tuckwell Collection', History Workshop Journal, no. 5 Spring 1978, describes the research value of the papers.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Janet Foster as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project, based on a description by Amanda Mason who listed the papers in 1998.

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:
November 2000

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