Sam Woods

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Sam Woods (10 May 1846 – 23 November 1915) was a British trade unionist and politician who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the 1890s.

Born at Peasley Cross in St Helens, Woods began working in coal mining at the age of seven. He was elected as a pit checkweighman in 1875 and became strongly involved in trade unionism, joining the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation in 1881. When this merged into the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in 1889, Woods became the organisation's first vice president.

In the 1892 general election, Woods was elected as a Lib–Lab MP for Ince. In Parliament, he agitated for the Eight Hours Bill, and in 1894 he was elected as the Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). He lost his seat at the 1895 general election, but was re-elected for Walthamstow at a by-election in 1897. However, he lost the seat in 1900 following confusion over his stance on the Second Boer War.

While broadly supportive of the Labour Representation Committee, Woods remained a Liberal and joined the National Democratic League. His health failing, he resigned his TUC post in 1904, but retained his vice presidency of the MFGB to prevent Robert Smillie gaining election.

An elderly persons home is named after him in Ashton in Makerfield.


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Henry Blundell-Hollinshead-Blundell
Member of Parliament for Ince
Succeeded by
Henry Blundell-Hollinshead-Blundell
Preceded by
Edmund Widdrington Byrne
Member of Parliament for Walthamstow
Succeeded by
David John Morgan
Trade union offices
New office President of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation
Succeeded by
Thomas Greenall
New office Vice-President of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain
Succeeded by
Robert Smillie
Preceded by
Charles Fenwick
Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee of the TUC
Succeeded by
W. C. Steadman
Preceded by
Edward Cowey and James Mawdsley
Trades Union Congress representative to the American Federation of Labour
With: J. Mallinson
Succeeded by
Edward Harford and Havelock Wilson