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The majority of these records cover the period 1970-1985. They document Hackney Trades Council's involvement in a wide variety of local and national campaigns and issues and provide a valuable insight into labour movement politics as a whole.
Annual reports and AGMs.
Correspondence with affiliated trade union branches
The records were deposited by or with the authorisation of Trades Council secretaries in batches and were often mixed up or undated. An artificial structure of cataloguing has therefore been imposed. The major portion of the deposits has been secretary's correspondence which has been divided into separate issues and campaigns where justified and then listed in date order. There were also a number of files relating to single issues and campaigns which have been kept intact and listed separately.
There was a large amount of correspondence from the TUC. This consisted mainly of routine circulars sent to all affiliated organisations which are already held in the TUC archives at the Modern Records Centre. Therefore, due to lack of storage space only correspondence which directly affected Hackney Trades Council was retained. Furthermore, any material that was duplicated was disposed of.
Administrative / biographical background:
Hackney Trades Council was founded on 3rd April 1900, with 16 delegates from local trade union branches, the Social Democratic Federation and the Independent Labour Party. The first secretary was Charles Horne of the Gas Workers and General Labourers Union (who was later embroiled in a libel case with Horatio Bottomley) and the chairman was Alfred Payne.
The organization grew quickly, campaigning on behalf of demobbed soldiers from the Boer War for whom there were no jobs. It also put up candidates for the Borough elections - three were elected in 1903.
The period before the First World War saw the labour movement on the defensive and therefore united, but when the war came it split the movement down the middle.
The Trades Council became the local Labour Party branch in 1918. When Labour gained control of Hackney Borough Council in 1919, the involvement of so many prominent Labour activists in running a municipal administration created a vacuum in the movement which was filled by the newly formed Communist Party. Thus began a relationship between the Trades Council and the Communists that has continued ever since. In the Cold War climate of the 1950's, this association was to lead to disaffiliation from the TUC and clashes with the local Labour Party. A new Trades Council was formed which excluded members of the Communist Party and a period of respectability and alleged excessive constitutionalism ensued.