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Trade Unions

Trade unions, set up to protect the rights and welfare of particular groups of workers, were already established amongst certain industrial workers by the mid-18th century and continued to grow as industrialization increased through the 19th and 20th centuries.

Records generated by the trade unions can be a useful source for both union and local history, especially if a particular union was very strong in a localized area. Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive service holds a variety of material relating to trade unions that may be of interest to local and community historians. Stoke on Trent City Archives holds material concerning trade unionism in the Pottery industry, whilst Staffordshire Record Office holds material that relates to certain local branches of trade unions, including those of engineers, miners, woodworkers, boilermakers, shipwrights & blacksmiths, teachers and local government officers.

Local newspapers can also be a useful source in recording strikes, meetings and annual social events, and may also mention the names of key players in particular unions. The William Salt Library holds copies of The Staffordshire Advertiser between 1795 and 1973, as well as smaller runs of other local newspapers, whilst Stoke on Trent City Archives holds microfilms of North Staffordshire newspaper The Sentinel from 1854 onwards.


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