The President of the Trades Union Congress is a prominent but largely honorary position in British trade unionism.
Initially, the post of president was elected at the annual Trades Union Congress (TUC) itself, and would serve just for the duration of the congress. Early standing orders stated that preference had to be given to a candidate from the city where the congress was being held; they were not necessarily well-known figures.
In 1900, the standing orders were changed to state that the presidency would be filled by the person who had chaired the Parliamentary Committee over the previous year. As a result, before 1900, numerous people served as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee without becoming President; after this date, Presidents were prominent figures in the national trade union movement.The Parliamentary Committee was replaced by the General Council in 1921, and the system continued.
There were still rare occasions where the Chair did not become President. Margaret Bondfield, who was elected as Chair in 1923, resigned to accept a government post before becoming President.George Isaacs, who was elected as Chair in 1944, similarly resigned to accept a government post, and was replaced by the vice-president, Ebby Edwards, who had presided over the previous year's congress.
In recent years, the President has once more been elected at the annual congress, but now officially fills the office for the remainder of the year and then presides over the following year's conference (in the years listed below).
|1868||William Henry Wood||Manchester and Salford Trades Council|
|1869||Thomas Wilkinson||Flint Glass Makers Friendly Society|
|1871||George Potter||London Working Men's Association|
|1872||W. H. Leatherland||Organised Trades Association|
|1873||William Lishman||Leeds Trades Council|
|1874||William Rolley||Sheffield Federated Trades Council|
|1875||James Fitzpatrick||Liverpool Trades Council|
|1875||John Battersby||Scottish Typographical Association|
|1876||James C. Laird||Newcastle Trades Council|
|1877||Daniel Merrick||Leicester Trades Council|
|1878||George Fowler Jones||Bristol Trades Council|
|1879||David Gibson||Edinburgh and District Trades Council|
|1880||John Murphy||Friendly Society of Ironfounders|
|1881||Edwin Coulson||Operative Bricklayers' Society|
|1882||Robert Austin||Amalgamated Society of Engineers|
|1883||Thomas Smith||Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Printers|
|1884||James Thompson||Aberdeen Trades Council|
|1885||T. R. Threlfall||Typographical Association|
|1886||Frederick Maddison||Typographical Association|
|1887||W. Bevan||Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners|
|1888||Samuel Shaftoe||Yorkshire United Skip, Basket and Hamper Makers Society|
|1889||Robert Ritchie||Dundee Trades Council|
|1890||William Matkin||General Union of Carpenters and Joiners|
|1891||Thomas Burt||Northumberland Miners' Association|
|1892||John Hodge||British Steel Smelters Association|
|1893||Samuel Munro||Typographical Association|
|1894||Frank Delves||Amalgamated Society of Engineers|
|1895||John Jenkins||Associated Shipwrights' Society|
|1896||John Mallinson||Edinburgh Trades Council|
|1897||John Valentine Stevens||National Amalgamated Association of Tin Plate Workers of Great Britain|
|1898||James O'Grady||Amalgamated Union of Cabinet Makers|
|1899||W. J. Vernon||Typographical Association|
|1900||William Pickles||National Amalgamated Society of House and Ship Painters|
|1901||C. W. Bowerman||London Society of Compositors|
|1902||W. C. Steadman||River Thames Barge Builders Trades Union|
|1903||W. Boyd Hornidge||National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives|
|1904||Richard Bell||Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants|
|1905||James Sexton||National Union of Dock Labourers|
|1906||D. C. Cummings||United Society of Boilermakers|
|1907||Alfred Gill||Bolton Cotton Spinners Association|
|1908||David Shackleton||Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of Weavers|
|1909||David Shackleton||Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of Weavers|
|1910||James Haslam||Miners Federation of Great Britain|
|1911||William Mullin||Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives|
|1912||Will Thorne||National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers|
|1913||William John Davis||Amalgamated Society of Brassworkers|
|1915||James Seddon||National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks|
|1916||Harry Gosling||National Transport Workers Federation|
|1917||John Hill||United Society of Boilermakers|
|1918||John William Ogden||Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of Weavers|
|1919||G. H. Stuart-Bunning||Postmen's Federation|
|1920||Jimmy Thomas||National Union of Railwaymen|
|1921||Edward L. Poulton||National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives|
|1922||Robert Barrie Walker||National Union of Agricultural Workers|
|1923||Joe Williams||Musicians Union|
|1924||Alf Purcell||National Amalgamated Furnishing Trades Association|
|1925||Alonzo Swales||Amalgamated Engineering Union|
|1926||Arthur Pugh||Iron and Steel Trades Confederation|
|1927||George Hicks||Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers|
|1928||Ben Turner||National Union of Textile Workers|
|1929||Ben Tillett||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1930||John Beard||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1931||Arthur Hayday||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1932||John Bromley||Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen|
|1933||Alexander Walkden||Railway Clerks' Association|
|1934||Andrew Conley||National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers|
|1935||William Kean||National Union of Gold, Silver and Allied Trades|
|1936||Alan Findlay||United Patternmakers Association|
|1937||Ernest Bevin||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1938||Herbert Henry Elvin||National Union of Clerks and Administrative Workers|
|1939||Joseph Hallsworth||National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers|
|1940||Bill Holmes||National Union of Agricultural Workers|
|1941||George Gibson||Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers Union|
|1942||Frank Wolstencroft||Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers|
|1943||Anne Loughlin||National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers|
|1944||Ebby Edwards||Miners Federation of Great Britain|
|1945||Ebby Edwards||National Union of Mineworkers|
|1946||Charles Dukes||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1947||George Walker Thomson||Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsmen|
|1948||Florence Hancock||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1949||Will Lawther||National Union of Mineworkers|
|1950||Herbert Bullock||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1951||Alfred Roberts||National Association of Card, Blowing and Ring Room Operatives|
|1952||Arthur Deakin||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1953||Tom O'Brien||National Association of Theatrical and Kine Employees|
|1954||Jack Tanner||Amalgamated Engineering Union|
|1955||Charles Geddes||Union of Post Office Workers|
|1956||Wilfred Beard||United Patternmakers Association|
|1957||Tom Williamson||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1958||Tom Yates||National Union of Seamen|
|1959||Robert Willis||London Typographical Society|
|1960||Claude Bartlett||Confederation Of Health Service Employees|
|1961||Ted Hill||United Society of Boilermakers|
|1962||Anne Godwin||Clerical and Administrative Workers Union|
|1963||Frederick Hayday||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1964||George H. Lowthian||Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers|
|1965||Harold Collison||National Union of Agricultural Workers|
|1966||Joseph O'Hagan||National Union of Blastfurnacemen, Ore Miners, Coke Workers and Kindred Trades|
|1967||Harry Douglass||Iron and Steel Trades Confederation|
|1968||Lewis Wright||Amalgamated Weavers' Association|
|1969||John E. Newton||National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers|
|1970||Sidney Greene||National Union of Railwaymen|
|1971||Jack Cooper||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1972||George Smith||Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians|
|1973||Joseph Crawford||National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers|
|1974||Alfred Allen||Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers|
|1975||Marie Patterson||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1976||Cyril Plant||Inland Revenue Staff Federation|
|1977||Danny McGarvey||Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipwrights, Blacksmiths and Structural Workers|
|1977||Marie Patterson||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1978||David Basnett||National Union of General and Municipal Workers|
|1979||Thomas Jackson||Union of Post Office Workers|
|1980||Terry Parry||Fire Brigades Union|
|1981||Alan Fisher||National Union of Public Employees|
|1982||Alan Sapper||Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians|
|1983||Frank Chapple||Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union|
|1984||Ray Buckton||Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen|
|1985||Jack Eccles||General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union|
|1986||Ken Gill||Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Section|
|1987||Fred Jarvis||National Union of Teachers|
|1988||Clive Jenkins||Manufacturing, Science and Finance|
|1989||Tony Christopher||Inland Revenue Staff Federation|
|1990||Ada Maddocks||National and Local Government Officers Association|
|1991||Alec Smith||GMB Union|
|1992||Rodney Bickerstaffe||National Union of Public Employees|
|1993||Alan Tuffin||Union of Communication Workers|
|1994||Jimmy Knapp||National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers|
|1995||Leif Mills||Banking, Insurance and Finance Union|
|1996||Margaret Prosser||Transport and General Workers Union|
|1997||Tony Dubbins||Graphical, Paper and Media Union|
|1998||John Edmonds||GMB Union|
|2001||Bill Morris||Transport and General Workers Union|
|2002||Tony Young||Communication Workers Union|
|2003||Nigel de Gruchy||National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers|
|2005||Jeannie Drake||Communication Workers Union|
|2009||Sheila Bearcroft||GMB Union|
|2012||Paul Kenny||GMB Union|
|2013||Lesley Mercer||Chartered Society of Physiotherapy|
|2017||Mary Bousted||Association of Teachers and Lecturers|
|2018||Sally Hunt||University and College Union|
|2019||Mark Serwotka||Public and Commercial Services Union|
|2023||Maria Exall||Communication Workers' Union|
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