Arthur Deakin

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Deakin, third from left middle row, in a World War II patriotic poster
Arthur Deakin
Born 1890
Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England
Died 1 May 1955, aged 64
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Nationality United Kingdom
Occupation Trade Union official

Arthur Deakin CH CBE PC (1890–1955) was a prominent British trade unionist who was acting general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union from 1940 and then general secretary from 1945 to 1955.

Deakin was born in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire in 1890, his father died when he was young and his mother re-married and the family moved to South Wales.[1] He began his working life at the age of 13 at the Dowlais Ironworks.[1] He became an active trade unionist during the First World War and a full-time official in 1919.[1] In 1932, he became national secretary of the General Workers National Trade Group within the TGWU and in 1935 became assistant general secretary. In 1940 he effectively took over the position of general secretary, following the appointment of Ernest Bevin as a cabinet minister. Deakin's period as general secretary was marked by a consolidation of the powers of executive, occasional serious outbreaks of unofficial strike action among union members and a fierce anti-communist line.

Deakin was due to retire in November 1955 but on 1 May 1955 Deakin was addressing a May Day rally at the Corn Exchange in Leicester when he collapsed, he was dead on arrival at hospital.[2]

Deakin was succeeded as general secretary by Jock Tiffin.


  1. ^ a b c "Mr. Arthur Deakin." Times [London, England] 2 May 1955: 17. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Mr. A. Deakin Dead." Times [London, England] 2 May 1955: 12. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 6 July 2013.
Trade union offices
Preceded by
John Cliff
Assistant General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
Succeeded by
Harold Clay
Preceded by
Ernest Bevin
General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
1945-1955 (Acting 1940-1945)
Succeeded by
Jock Tiffin
Preceded by
Alfred Roberts
President of the Trades Union Congress
Succeeded by
Tom O'Brien