Amalgamated Weavers' Association

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The Amalgamated Weavers' Association, often known as the Weavers' Amalgamation, was a trade union in the United Kingdom.

The union was founded in 1884 as the Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of Weavers,[1] with the participation of thirty-four local trade unions.[2] Initially, it operated in competition with the North East Lancashire Amalgamated Weavers' Association in part of its area, and it was therefore nicknamed the Second Amalgamation.[3]

The majority of the union's members were female: in 1894, 45,000 of its 80,000 total membership were women. This was unusual; outside the cotton industry, very few women were members of trade unions.[4] By 1937, membership had risen to 94,000, and the proportion of women had grown further, to a total of 75,000 of its members.[2]

For many years, the union campaigned against the practice of steaming in cotton mills.[5][6]

The union took its final name in 1923. In 1974, it merged with the National Union of Textile and Allied Workers to form the Amalgamated Textile Workers' Union.[1]

Notable leaders of the union include secretary Thomas Birtwistle and president David Shackleton.

General Secretaries[edit]

1884: Thomas Birtwistle
1906: Joseph Cross
1925: J. C. Parker
1928: Andrew Naesmith
1953: Lewis Wright
1968: Harry Kershaw
1971: Fred Hague


1884: David Holmes
1906: David Shackleton
1911: John William Ogden
1937: James Bell
1940s: Carey Hargreaves
1950?: Lewis Wright
1960: Ernest Thornton


  1. ^ a b "Amalgamated Weavers' Association", Archives Hub
  2. ^ a b Mary Agnes Hamilton, Women at Work: A Brief Introduction to Trade Unionism for Women, p.117
  3. ^ Ross M. Martin, The Lancashire Giant: David Shackleton, Labour Leader and Civil Servant, p.22
  4. ^ Ross M. Martin, The Lancashire Giant: David Shackleton, Labour Leader and Civil Servant, p.20
  5. ^ Fowler, Alan (2003). Lancashire Cotton Operatives and Work,1900-1950: A social history of Lancashire cotton operatives in the twentieth century. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0 7546 01161. 
  6. ^ Hopwood, Edwin (1969). A History of the Lancashire Cotton Industry and the Amalgamated Weavers' Association. Manchester: The Amalgamated Weavers' Association.