Thomas Smith (trade unionist)

Last updated

Thomas Smith (1847 December 1919) was a British trade union leader and politician.

Born in Stone, Staffordshire, Smith was taught bootmaking by his father, and the two moved first to Worcester, then to Stafford, to find work. In Stafford, Smith became involved with the trade union movement, and in time became leader of the Staffordshire Riveters. [1]

In 1873, Smith organised a conference which successfully persuaded various local bootmakers' unions to merge. They formed the National Union of Boot and Shoe Rivetters and Finishers, and Smith easily elected as its first general secretary. He moved to Leicester to set up headquarters there, and became active in the local Liberal Party. [2] [3] Running the union proved difficult, with opposition from some employers, various factions vying for influence, and finances precarious, but it survived. [4] In 1877, when the Trades Union Congress was held in Leicester, Smith was elected to its Parliamentary Committee. [5]

Smith was elected to Leicester School Board in 1877, and the year after, resigned as secretary of the union to become the full-time secretary of the Leicester Liberal Association, although he retained his union membership. He remained secretary of the Liberals until 1892, [6] by which time he had also been elected to Leicester Town Council. He then took employment with the Board of Trade as an official arbitrator in trade disputes. Remaining on the council, he served as Mayor of Leicester in 1907/08. [1]

Smith died in 1919, while serving as an alderman on the council. His obituary in The Observer noted that he was a friend of Henry Broadhurst. [7]

Related Research Articles

Arthur Cecil Allen was a British footwear manufacturer, trade union officer and Member of Parliament. He served as an Opposition Whip, but his most important position was as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Hugh Gaitskell during the first few years as Leader of the Opposition.

William Bromfield was an English trade unionist and Labour Party politician from Leek in Staffordshire. He was the town's Member of Parliament (MP) for all but four of the years between 1918 and 1945.

Edward L. Poulton British politician

Edward Lawrence Poulton was a British trade unionist.

National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives

The National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives (NUBSO) was a trade union in the United Kingdom which existed between 1873 and 1971. It represented workers in the footwear industry.

W. Boyd Hornidge British trade unionist

William Boyd Hornidge was a British trade unionist.

William Inskip

William John Inskip was an English trade unionist.

The General Council of the Trades Union Congress is an elected body which is responsible for carrying out the policies agreed at the annual British Trade Union Congresses (TUC).

Charles Freak was a British trade unionist and politician.

Sir Lionel Pinnock Poole was a British trade unionist.

James Millar Jack Scottish trade unionist and politician

James Millar Jack was a Scottish trade unionist and politician.

The Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress was the leading body of the British trade union movement from 1871 until 1921.

Stuart Uttley was a British trade unionist.

George Sedgwick was a British trade union leader.

Daniel Guile Guile, Daniel (1814–1882), trade unionist

Daniel Guile was a British trade unionist.

Clement James Bundock was a British trade union leader, newspaper editor and political activist.

Leonard Smith was a British trade unionist and politician.

Edward Kell was a British trade unionist and politician.

John William Murby was a British trade unionist and socialist politician.

John Judge was a British trade unionist, who was prominent in the Leeds labour movement, and briefly served as president of his union.

James Henry Baum, also known as Jimmie Baum, was a Scottish trade unionist and socialist activist.

References

  1. 1 2 Ned Newitt, "Thomas Smith", The Who's Who of Radical Leicester
  2. Ned Newitt, A People's History of Leicester, p.18
  3. Bill Lancaster, Radicalism, cooperation and socialism, p.41
  4. Alan Fox, A history of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, 1847-1957, p.49
  5. Trades Union Congress, "Parliamentary Committee elected at Leicester", Annual Report of the 1877 Trades Union Congress, p.37
  6. James R. Moore, The Transformation of Urban Liberalism, p.239
  7. [no title], The Observer , 7 December 1919, p.15
Trade union offices
Preceded by
New position
General Secretary of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Rivetters and Finishers
18741878
Succeeded by
George Sedgwick