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London Metropolitan University
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About the TUC Library Collections

The TUC Library Collections, which transferred to the University of North London (now the London Metropolitan University) in September 1996, were first established in 1922 for the use of the Trades Union Congress and affiliated unions. They contain books, pamphlets and other material collected from unions, pressure groups and campaign movements both in the UK and internationally since the second half of the 19th century. The TUC continues to add material acquired after 1996 on a regular basis. They constitute a major research library in the social sciences, with reference and historical works on the trade union movement, union publications, documents relating to working conditions and industrial relations in various industries, and material collected from the various campaigns and policy areas in which the TUC has been involved since its foundation in 1868. A major strength of the Library is the large collection of pamphlets and other ephemera, which have survived here as in few other comparable libraries.

The Library also hold a number of important archive collections, for example:

Workers' Educational Association Library and Archive which include minutes, reports, journals and manuscript material since the WEA's foundation in 1903. The Archive is important for any study of adult and continuing education in the 20th century.

Marjorie Nicholson (1914-1997) had worked in the International Department from 1955-1972 and was the author of The TUC overseas: the roots of policy. The collection comprises files of printed material, press cuttings, TUC internal documentation, correspondence and other manuscript material relating to labour and political movements in the colonies.

Gertrude Tuckwell (1861-1951) Collection which covers her period (c.1890-1921) with the Women's Trade Union League and includes both printed (mainly press cuttings, but also pamphlets and reports) and manuscript material (correspondence and personal notes). The subjects cover the whole range of contemporary issues relating to women's political and employment rights, including anti-sweating campaigns, union organisation, health and safety, political activities, suffrage campaigns, and issues relating to women and World War I.

Catalogues for the above collections and an online search form to press cuttings files, which trace important political and labour movement events between 1918 - 1970, are available on the Collections web pages [see below]. The University has received grants from the British Library and the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to help conserve rare and fragile documents in the Library.

Descriptions of other archival resources held in the Collections may be found on websites established under the Research Support Libraries Programme at:

Library catalogue

Details of holdings up to 1995 are entered on a card catalogue, only accessible in the TUC Library Collections. However, since January 1999, new acquisitions and older union publications covered by a National Heritage Lottery Fund recataloguing project have been added to the online library catalogue (OPAC).

Access for all users is by appointment only. For details of admission arrangements, opening times see the Collections webpages. Enquiries can be emailed.

TUC Library Collections
Special Collections
London Metropolitan University
16 Goulston Street
London E1 7TP
Telephone: 020 7320 3516

Jeff Howarth is the Librarian of the Collections.


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Match Workers, Bryant and May, 1888 Women resurfacing a road 1914-1918
  Ernest Bevin   Strikers Meeting, Millwall, 1918  
  Food lorry with an armoured car escort, General Strike, 1926   Finance Committee, dock strike, 1889