I have tried to indicate all sources in the text. The following therefore is an elaboration on this.
For the formation of the Trades Council the sole source is the Beehive working class newspaper (at the British Library newspaper library, Colindale, London or obtainable from local libraries on microfilm). For their centenary the Trades Council published Origins of Wolverhampton Trades Council by G.J.Barnsby, (copies in the TUC Library, London and Wolverhampton Central Library). This dealt also with social conditions and working class activity in the first half of the nineteenth century and has a full bibliography.
Most Trades Council’s histories are written from their Minute Books and annual Year Books but for Wolverhampton Trades Council only one Minute Book Survives covering the period from July 1951 to Jan 1954 (at Wolverhampton Library).
Year Books are indispensable because they usually have an annual report outlining the year’s work, the meeting place of all affiliated organisations and names of all delegates. There is also a financial report. Year Books for Wolverhampton are deficient. We do not know when they were first published. The earliest we have are for 1913 to 1915. These are large, substantial booklets. Subsequent Year Books are pocket sized. This series begins in 1923 and from 1925-6 to 1940-41 is almost complete. After 1941 the next Year Books are for 1946 and 1947 followed by 1949. Then 1951 to 1957 and 1961/2. These are all at the TUC Library, but photocopies are available at Wolverhampton. Wolverhampton Library has a series from 1974 to 1978, some survive from the mid 1960s but there is no annual report in them and in the 1980s publication of Year Books ceased altogether.
For the 50th anniversary of 1926 the Trades Council published The General Strike in the Black Country by G.J.Barnsby, (TUC and Wolverhampton libraries) which outlines what we know of this unique event and gives a bibliography.
From the 1980s the Trades Council possesses its own MINUTES of full Council, Executive Committee and sub-Committees. Placed in Wolverhampton Archives and recent documents are on this site.
The only other source is the local press. The only labour movement paper is the invaluable Wolverhampton Worker for the years 1913-15. The local capitalist press means the Wolverhampton Chronicle and the Express & Star. The former has always been Tory, but in earlier years followed an honourable journalistic tradition of reporting at length and almost verbatim when it deigned to recognise the existence of the Trades Council, which wasn’t often. The Express & Star was at first a Liberal paper and reported sympathetically such activities as May Day demonstrations and AGMs in the 1880s and 1890s. But it soon became, what it remains today, a Tory paper hostile to the labour movement. However, again until recent years, it followed good journalistic practice by having local affairs reporters who made a career on the paper, some of whom stayed many years and knew the organisations of the town. Not only was that lost, but reporters stopped covering many evening events and eventually ceased to attend Trades Council meetings. There may be more Trades Council reportage to be quarried than I have found in this mountain of newsprint. Future researchers should note that Trades Council meetings have invariably been held on the third Thursday of the month.
TRADES COUNCIL OFFICIALS 1865-present
1865 Joseph Humphries
1866-73 Thomas Owen Crumpton
1874 Joseph Humphries
1891-05 F.Mee, S.Bowyer, J.Scott
1906-08 Caleb Coley, John Stalker
1909-19 Harry Bagley
1955-64 Frank Martin
1965-70 Chris Laws
1971-79 Sam Clarke
1980-83 Stan Meredith
1984 Arthur White, Jackie Coote
1984-87 Jackie Coote
1988 Bruce Young
1989-95 Dick Scroop
1996-present Nick Kelleher
1860s Joseph Humphries
1880s C.Eley, G.Sale
1900s F.Badger, W.Day
1903-18 James Whittaker
1946 Frank Clapham
1965-78 Harry Bagley
1979-85 Ron Badham
1986-88 Bruce Young
1988-95 Alan Millington
1996-2002 Rob Marris
2003-05 Marie Taylor
2006-10 Dave Cole
2011-present Marie Taylor
TRADES COUNCIL AFFILIATES AND INCOME
1878 1,200 trade unionists affiliated
1890 about 2,000 trade unionists affiliated Income £16
1914 45 societies affiliated Income £134
1917 58 societies affiliated Income £171
1922 74 societies affiliated Income £181
1924 75 societies affiliated Income £161
1937 47 societies affiliated Not known
1945 77 societies affiliated Income £478
1989 34 societies affiliated Income £1259
1999 24 societies affiliated Income £497
2003 24 societies affiliated Income £1046
2007 21 societies affiliated Income £1583
2011 18 societies affiliated Income £1252
2016 25 societies affiliated Income £1821
Appendix C – THANKS
The Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council would like to thank the following unions and trade unionists for giving their support for the updating of this book.