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Meeting of the Norfolk Federal Union, at Swanton Morley sandpit near Dereham in the 1870s

The Norfolk Federal Union (NFU) was set up in 1878 by George Rix of Swanton Morley and other local union leaders who were dissatisfied with Joseph Arch's National Agricultural Labourers' Union (NALU). They were opposed to centralised control by salaried staff at NALU head office and argued that a federation of strong local branches was a more democratic and radical form of organisation.

In this photo, Rix is the man with a beard at the centre of the front row. He is flanked by David Reeder (with sash) and William Hubbard, President and Treasurers of the NFU. Rix helped to form other Federal Union branches and union membership remained high in the 1880s as the National Union started to fail. In the 1890s, most NFU districts joined the Norfolk and Norwich Amalgamated Labourers' Union, (N&NALU) but this also failed in 1897.

Agricultural trade unionism revived in 1906 with the formation of the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers' and Small Holders Union by George Edwards, former Secretary of both the Cromer District of the Federal Union and the N&NALU. This union was the forerunner of the National Union of Agricultural Workers, now part of the Transport & General Workers Union.

Title Meeting of the Norfolk Federal Union, at Swanton Morley sandpit near Dereham in the 1870s
Maker --
Production Date 1870s
Format Photograph
Copyright Norfolk Rural Life Museum
Holding Institution TUC Library Collections, London Metropolitan University
Related Objects --
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