Joseph Burgess

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Joseph Burgess ca. 1895

Joseph Burgess (1853–1934) was a British journalist and Labour politician.

He was born on 3 July 1853 in Failsworth, Lancashire, the third of six children of handloom weavers, and educated at a print works school in Failsworth. He started work in a card-cutting room at the age of six and worked as a cotton operative until he was 28. He married three times, having six children and died January 1934.


He was active in the creation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the Labour Party. He unsuccessfully ran as an ILP parliamentary candidate for Leicester in 1894 and 1895 before taking a role of organising secretary for the ILP between 1897 and 1902. He was a member of the Glasgow City Council between 1902-5 and unsuccessfully ran as an ILP candidate for Glasgow Camlachie in 1906, and Montrose in 1908 and 1910. He resigned from the ILP in 1915.

Throughout his career he was involved in newspapers:


  • John Burns: the rise and progress of the right honourable (1911)
  • Homeland or Empire (1915)
  • British agriculture versus foreign tributes (1925)
  • Will Lloyd George replace Ramsay MacDonald (1926)

Further reading[edit]

  • A. T. Lane, Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders, 1995. p 164–5 ISBN 0-313-29900-5
  • unpublished typescript 'Nineteenth Century Lancashire Textile Operatives Tribulations, 1800–95 held in the Labour Party Archives, London
  • A Potential Poet? His Autobiography and Verse (1927)
  • J. Burnett, D. Vincent, and D. Mayalls, eds., The Autobiography of the Working Class, vol 1.
  • Kevin McPhillips, Joseph Burgess (1853–1934) and the Founding of the Independent Labour Party, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7734-6068-3