About this Archive
The Amalgamated Society of Engineers was formed in 1851 through proposals drawn up by three unions, the Old Mechanics, the Steam Engine Makers' Society and the General Smiths. However, because some branches of the unions involved failed to ratify the amalgamation the union formed with only 5000 members (less than the membership of the Old Mechanics).
Over the following year many of the societies gradually decided on formal amalgamation including the New Society of Millwrights; the Old Society of Engineers and Machinists of London; the London Smiths; the Steam Engine Makers' Society; the United Machine Workers' Asssociation; the United Kingdom Society of Amalgamated Smiths and Strikers; the Associated Brassfounders', Turners', Fitters' and Finishers' Society; the North of England Brassfounders' Society; the Amalgamated Instrument Makers' Society and the Amalgamated Society of General Toolmakers, Engineers and Machinists. By the end of 1851 the number of members had increased to 10481 and the birth of one of the most influential unions in the United Kingdom was complete.
However, almost immediately the union was nearly bankrupted through the engineering lock-out of 1852 where employers demanded that workers sign a declaration stating they would not join a trade union movement. After three months the union relented and the men returned to work but from this setback the union recovered quickly (so much so that by 1861 it consisted of 236 branches). The union continued to grow in the following years until in 1920 when the Amalgamated Society of Engineers along with seventeen other Unions joined together to form the Amalgamated Engineering Union.
Scope and Content
Seventy-seven volumes of handwritten quarterly report forms from branches of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Machinists, Millwrights, Smiths and Pattern Makers all over the country, including notes and figures on income and expenditure, membership numbers, excluded members, quarterly admissions, superannuated members, members gone abroad and the death of members or their wives (1853 - 1879).