Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Archives: Centenary of the Labour Research Department


The records of the Labour Research Department [LRD] are deposited in the TUC Library Collections, held in London Metropolitan University. The origins of the LRD lay in the Committee of Inquiry into the Control of Industry, set up by the Fabian Society in 1912 (during a period of mass strikes and great social unrest) to produce an alternative plan for the future organisation of industry. In 1913, the Committee became the Fabian Research Department, producing research reports and other publications, but also organising lectures and conferences. George Bernard Shaw became the Chairman and both Sidney and Beatrice Webb played leading roles.  A generation of young intellectuals, who went on to play key roles in the labour and broader political movements, were recruited to the project via the University Socialist Federation [records also held here] and it was seen as a power-house for new political ideas. Prominent names in the records include J.J. Mallon [secretary of the Anti-Sweating League], J.S. Middleton [Labour Party General Secretary], Maud Pember Reeves [feminist and socialist], W.Mellor [journalist], Dr Ethel Bentham MP [suffragist], Susan Lawrence MP, Clifford Allen [founder of the No Conscription Fellowship], Ellen Wilkinson MP, Maurice Reckitt [writer and Christian sociologist], G.D.H. Cole [writer and journalist] and Robin Page Arnot [historian and secretary of the LRD].  In 1918, the name changed to the LRD and it prioritised supplying unions and other groups with information to use in negotiations, political debates and public meetings. The Archive provides a detailed record of trade union and political struggles in the 20th century. The catalogue of the Archive may be seen online at www.londonmet.ac.uk/tuc

If you would like to visit the LRD Archive in the TUC Library Collections, please phone or email to arrange a visit Monday-Friday 9.15-16.45.

TUC Library Collections, London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road Learning Centre,

236 Holloway Road, London N7 6PP. Tel: 020 7133 3726  //  email: tuclib@londonmet.ac.uk

TUC Collections web page  www.londonmet.ac.uk/tuc

Visit our other online history resources:

The Union Makes Us Strong : TUC History Online  at www.unionhistory.info

Winning Equal Pay at www.unionhistory.info/equalpay

The Workers War: Home Front Recalled at www.unionhistory.info/workerswar
Britain at Work at www.unionhistory/britainatwork

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