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Flintshire Record Office
NUM (North Wales) records

Reference code(s): GB 0208 D/NM

Held at: Flintshire Record Office

Title: National Union of Mineworkers (North Wales Area) Papers

Short Title: NUM (North Wales) records

Creation date(s): 1831 - c.1989

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 5432 items

Name of creator(s): National Union of Mineworkers (North Wales Area) including branches

CONTEXT

Administrative/Biographical history: The 1890s saw the first successful attempt to organise the north Wales coal miners, with the setting up of the Denbighshire and Flintshire Miners' Federation. It was renamed the North Wales Miners' Association in 1903, and became the North Wales and Border Counties Mineworkers' Association from 1935. The Miners' (later Mineworkers') Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) was formed in 1890. In 1945 it was reformed as the National Union of Mineworkers. The Federation's affiliated unions were reconstituted as districts of the new union, and the North Wales and Border Counties Mineworkers' Association became the National Union of Mineworkers (North Wales Area). Edward Hughes (1856-1925) was general secretary and agent of the North Wales Miners' Association, 1898-1925; he was succeded by Edward Jones. It is difficult to consult the early records of the union without encountering the name of Edward Hughes who, although he has earned a mention in the "Dictionary of Welsh Biography", is now largely forgotten in North East Wales. The late Emlyn Rogers in his "Trade Unionism in the Coal-Mining Industry of North Wales to 1913" (Denbighshire Historical Society Transactions, Vol. 12-23), recognises that it was largely the work of Edward Hughes which gave the miners' union a sure footing in North Wales. The 1890s saw the first successful attempt to organise the miners with the setting up of the Flintshire and Denbighshire Miners' Federation. Edward Hughes was appointed financial secretary in 1891, general secretary in 1897 and permanent agent in 1898, continuing that post (with the union renamed the North Wales Miners' Association in 1903) until his death in 1925. In the collection are several notebooks and typescript sheets which form an almost complete autobiography of this industrious and dedicated man (one of the autobiographical accounts, "My Recollections at Point of Ayr Colliery from 1887 to 1890", is published in "Llafur" Vol. 2 No.4 Spring 1979). Much of the text is in Welsh, and the writing of the later part is often quite difficult to read, but what emerges is a very readable and detailed account. It is made more remarkable by the fact that it was written by someone who began his working life at the age of seven. Edward Hughes' successors are well represented amongst the papers, as well as other officials of the National Union of Mineworkers on a national and regional level. The collection contains correspondence with representatives of central government and with many figures prominent in trade union and political life.

CONTENT

Scope and content/abstract: Records of the NUM (North Wales Area) and its predecessors, 1891-1989, comprising council and executive committee minutes, 1897-1987; rules and membership records, 1920-1987; annual reports, 1899-1984; financial records, 1891-1980, including auditors' and independent accountants' papers, 1921-1974, and lodge contributions, 1936-1981; correspondence and papers relating to production, wages and conditions, disputes and conciliation, safety, compensation claims, welfare, and other matters, 1898-1987; papers of individual collieries and Lodges, 1893-1984, mainly Bersham, 1880-1985, Point of Ayr, 1893-1975, and Llay Main, [1920]-1966, and Gresford Colliery Disaster, 1934-1984; papers relating to Edward Hughes, 1897-1924, and Edward Jones, [1934]-1979; photographs, 1901-1989; papers relating to other districts' Miners Associations, 1905-[1975]; records relating to the Miners' Federation of Great Britain and NUM, 1896-1989, including annual reports and proceedings, 1896-1973; political literature, 1912-1983; and printed material relating to the mining industry, 1919-1986. Dating from the 1890s, these records consist of the archives of the present union (from 1947) and its predecessors - the Denbighshire and Flintshire Miners' Federation (before 1903), the North Wales Miners' Association (1903-34) and the North Wales and Border Counties Mineworkers' Association (1935-46). The formal minutes and financial have been preserved, together with an almost complete series of annual reports from 1899 until the 1970s. The bulk of the collection consists of the correspondence and papers of the miners' agent and general secretary, including much material from individual lodges throughout Flintshire and Denbighshire. These cover the whole range of union interests: disputes concerning wages and conditions; procedures of conciliation; training, safety and welfare of miners, including a vast number of compensation claims (Subfonds D/NM/A) pursued by the union; political representation, and pressure for reform through Government legislation. Correspondence from the various lodges reflects union policies at a local level. The lodge and colliery papers illuminate two occurrences of particular note: the controversial dispute about union membership at Point of Ayr, 1946-43, and the Gresford Colliery Disaster in 1934 which aroused worldwide sympathy. An item of some interest is the "Miner's Magazine" issued monthly from July 1903 by the NWMA. The magazine, 'a bilingual monthly journal of social and industrial progress', contains items of local and mining interest, poems, and stirring articles. The main objective seems to have been to promote unity and membership in a period when the miner's contribution to his union was a large proportion of his income. The first number contained a comparison with the wages of continental miners; an article on 'the worm', a disease once found in damp mines; and a warning to prospective emigrants to South Africa. A series of articles on the duties and benefits of the checkweigher are also to be found in the magazine.

ACCESS AND USE

Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: minutes; rules; annual reports; financial; correspondence and papers; lodge/colliery papers; Edward Hughes; Edward Jones; photographs; other districts' miners' associations; Miners' Federation of Great Britain/National Union of Miners; misc. mining; political; and miscellaneous (1st group); and financial; correspondence and papers; lodge/colliery papers; Edward Jones; other districts' miners' associations; misc. mining; and miscellaneous (2nd group); compensation claims (3rd group).

Conditions governing access: Data Protection Act restrictions will apply to any items less than 100 years old that contain sensitive personal information as defined by the Act.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright restrictions apply

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue are available at Flintshire Record Office, the National Library of Wales and the National Register of Archives. Catalogue is searchable online at: http://calmview.flintshire.gov.uk/CalmView/

ARCHIVAL INFORMATION

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history: This collection comprises those records listed by the Clwyd Record Office in 1976-7, and until recently held at the NUM Area Offices, Bradley Road, Wrexham, together with further documents and papers removed from there in October 1982 for sorting and listing. One unified schedule has been compiled of all these records, now transferred to the Record Office. Note: there are a few items not in this collection which were among the records held at the NUM Area Offices, Wrexham, listed in June 1977. These include (with catalogue numbers from June 1977 list in brackets), draft committee minutes, 1928 (19); cash books and other accounts, 1916-46 (95-100); Edward Hughes' manuscript autobiography c.1924 (410).

Immediate source of acquisition:

ALLIED MATERIALS

DESCRIPTION NOTES

Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds. The archive includes earlier records transferred to and accumulated by the NUM.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Rhys Jones for the ANW project and amended by Elizabeth Pettitt of Flintshire Record Office. Catalogue input by France Jones. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Flintshire Record Office, National Union of Mineworkers (N. Wales Area) MSS catalogue; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959); Warwick University: Modern Records Centre website (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/).

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2004; July 2005


INDEX ENTRIES
Subjects
Coal mines and mining | Wales, North
Gresford Colliery Disaster, Gresford, Wales, 1934
National Union of Mineworkers. | North Wales Area | Archives
Trades unions | Wales, North, | Records and correspondence

Personal names
Hughes , Edward , 1856-1925

Corporate names
Denbighshire and Flintshire Miners' Federation
Gresford Colliery Disaster Relief Fund
Miners' Federation of Great Britain
National Union of Mineworkers | North Wales Area
National Union of Mineworkers | North Wales Area. | Llay Main Lodge
National Union of Mineworkers | North Wales Area. | Point of Ayr Lodge
North Wales Miners' Association
North Wales and Border Counties Mineworkers' Association

Places
Denbighshire (Wales)
Flintshire (Wales)

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