The Modern Records Centre

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The Modern Records Centre was established at the University of Warwick in 1973 with the principal objectives of locating and preserving primary sources for modern British social, political and economic history, with special concentration on the national history of industrial relations, industrial politics and labour history. The collections extend to over 14kms and their significance has been recognised through the Designation Scheme of the Arts Council - our entire holdings have been designated pre-eminent collections of national and international importance.

The main strengths of our archive holdings are:

• National records of trade unions and related organisations, including the archives of the Trades Union Congress and the Transport and General Workers' Union

• National records of trade associations, employers’ organisations and related bodies, including the Confederation of British Industry and the Engineering Employers’ Federation.

The collections include the archives of over 500 trade unions– ranging from the Agricultural and Allied Workers through to the Wolverhampton Operative Tin-Plate Workers' Society. They cover all the major occupations within industry, trade and public service including teachers, nurses, Post Office workers, shoemakers and mechanics. Membership records have not survived in all of these collections but the MRC has compiled a guide to its key sources arranged by trade and occupation. This provides a brief history of the union, the arrangement of the membership information, any gaps in coverage and the information required in order to use the records.

The collections presented here on Findmypast are the membership records of only nine unions representing railway workers, carpenters and joiners, boilermakers and shipbuilders and a small section of print workers, the lithographers. Between them they cover the period 1870-1930.

The MRC also holds outstanding collections for political movements, protest and campaigning organisations and welfare and social work history. These include the archives of the YWCA, the National Union of Students, the National Federation of the Blind, the British Association of Social Workers and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Archives of the car, motorcycle and bicycle industries (the National Cycle Archive) are also held at the Centre.

For more information on all of our collections and how to access them please visit the website.

Available on Findmypast

Explore the trade union records available on Findmypast through our partnership with the University of Warwick.

Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers

Coming soon....

Britain, Trade Union Members, Service & Casualties 1914-1918