Acc NoCR3323
CR2793
CR1281
TitleWARWICKSHIRE MINERS' ASSOCIATION
Date1837-1998
DescriptionRecords created by Warwickshire Miners' Association (WMA), also known as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Warwickshire District. The material covers the administrative records of the Association, as well as some minutes of the National Union of Mineworkers Midlands Area.

There are a substantial amount of papers relating to arbitration and disputes concerning pay and working conditions. These are mostly arranged by colliery within the branch files, however some can be found within the papers of the General Secretary. Similarly, there are a number of Reportable Accident forms, again arranged by colliery, but some can be found within the Medical Board and compensation claims records.

Other records contained in this collection include Colliery Consultative Committee minutes, Workmen's Inspector's reports, financial records and other agreements, as well as correspondence files relating to property, the Warwickshire Miners' Pension and Benevolent Funds, Warwickshire Miners' Convalescent Home and Higham Grange Rehabilitation Centre.
Extent17.5 shelves
LevelCollection
Related MaterialThe following list records further collections held at Warwickshire County Record Office relating to the coal industry. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be other material held at Warwickshire County Record Office that is relevant to coalfield research.

CR1169 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1216 NUNEATON: GRIFF COLLIERY COMPANY LTD: MEASHAM COLLIERY CO
CR1234 NUNEATON: GRIFF COLLIERY COMPANY LTD: MEASHAM COLLIERY CO
CR1329 NUNEATON: GRIFF COLLIERY COMPANY LTD: MEASHAM COLLIERY CO
CR1347 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1353 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1390 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1455 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1581 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1679 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1710 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR1763 POLESWORTH: BIRCH COPPICE & BIRCHMOOR COLLIERIES
CR1764 WARWICKSHIRE COLLIERY RECORDS
CR1765 BADDESLEY COLLIERY
CR2038 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR2178 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR2468 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR2635 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR2816 STANLEY BROS. LTD, COLLIERY PROPRIETERS, BLUE BRICK AND TERRACOTTA MANUFACTURERS, NUNEATON
CR3166 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR3250 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR3385 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR3392 COTON AND GRIFF COLLIERIES
CR3418 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
CR4210 BRITISH COAL: SOUTH MIDLANDS AREA
CR4304 POLESWORTH: BIRCH COPPICE COLLIERY, HALL END
CR4456 POLESWORTH: PLANS OF BIRCHMORE COLLIERY AND POOLEY HALL COLLIERY
CR4487 DORDON: PAPERS OF W E RAYBOULD, FORMER CHIEF SCIENTIST AT BIRCH COPPICE COLLIERY
CR4672 KINGSBURY COLLIERY
CR4900 WARWICKSHIRE COLLIERIES
CR5027 NATIONAL COAL BOARD
Administrative HistoryThe first Warwickshire Miners' Association was formed in 1872. A Bedworth printer, Mr John Colledge, was elected as the Secretary. The society's first report was issued in June 1872, which stated that there were 414 members, which represented two thirds of miners in Bedworth. Membership continued to grow, and by the end of 1872, seven lodges had been formed with a membership of 1,100.

In 1873, Warwickshire Miners' Association amalgamated with Leicestershire and became the Warwickshire and Leicestershire Miners' Association (WALMA). The Great Strike of the Warwickshire Miners began on 23 April 1874, when all miners employed in the Warwickshire coalfield stopped work in opposition to an attempt by their employers to enforce at 10% reduction in their wages. During this period, miners' wages were paid on a sliding scale agreement, and the Union collapsed in 1880 following a fall in the price of coal.

The second Warwickshire Miners' Association (WMA) was established on 26 September 1885, with offices in Church Street, Bedworth. William Johnson (1849-1919) was elected as the General Secretary and Agent. He was also Treasurer of the Midland Miners Federation from 1886-1919 and became the Member of Parliament for Nuneaton in 1906. The union was a founder constituent of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB), the predecessor of the National Union of Mineworkers.

In 1889, the WMA Central Offices were built in Bedworth at a cost of £2,000. The first of the Warwickshire miners' pensions were paid by the Countess of Warwick at a ceremony at the Central Offices, Bedworth, in 1902. Each man received a golden sovereign.

In 1909, the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) voted to affiliate to the Labour Party, but Johnson and the Warwickshire miners refused to support this affiliation, leading to a series of disputes. In 1912, a group of members split away to form a rival union, the North Warwickshire Miners' Association, with George Henry Jones (1884-1958) as Secretary. In February 1919, Johnson was taken ill and his son, William Johnson Jnr, took over as Secretary. The two unions had remained separate for seven years, but with the Warwickshire Miners' Association no longer under the control of Johnson Snr, efforts were made to reunite the two organisations. Jones attended a WMA Executive Committee meeting on 11 May 1919, and the amalgamation was completed.

Johnson Snr died on 20 July 1919. Warwickshire Miners' Association became affiliated with the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, and the Association's new leader, George Henry Jones, persuaded the North Warwickshire Miners to return the Warwickshire Miners' Association. The newly amalgamated union became affiliated to the Labour Party, which led to an increase in members who had previously refused to belong to the union for political reasons.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was formed in 1944, replacing the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. At the request of the Midlands Area of the NUM, Warwickshire Miners' Association changed its name to become the 'National Union of Mineworkers (Warwickshire District) Midlands Area'. The change of name was approved and registered on 14 June 1946. Within the National Union of Mineworkers, the Warwickshire miners had less autonomy than before. This led to a general feeling that Warwickshire was being overlooked at Area meetings.

In 1958, the pits in Warwickshire decided to leave the Midlands Area form their own Area within the National Union of Mineworkers. A. J. Pratt, the Warwickshire District Secretary and Agent, and E. A. Courts, a Midlands Area Agent, assisted in a legal action for the secession of the Warwickshire District, stating they were acting on the instructions of the 'General Council for the Warwickshire District'. This went against the rules of the National Union of Mineworkers and was strongly disapproved of at national level. National officials met with Pratt and Courts, along with officials of the Midlands Area, and the national official stated that the line of authority was from the National Executive Committee, through the Midlands Area Executive Committee, directly to the branches. District Councils had no authority within the NUM structure, and their role was merely for benevolent matters.

However, it was decided at a meeting of the Warwickshire branches to proceed with the secession, and a special council meeting of the Midlands Area was convened with the hope of rectifying the situation. At the special meeting, the possibility of Warwickshire's secession from the Midlands Area was voted down, and Warwickshire remained part of the NUM Midlands Area.

Following the 1984-1985 miners' strike Ansley Workshops, Birch Coppice, Baddesley, and Coventry Collieries remained loyal to the NUM. The miners at Daw Mill were split between the NUM and the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM). Due to the decline of the mining industry, it was proposed that the Warwickshire District separate from the Midlands Area to merge with Leicester, South Derbyshire and Power Group to form a new Central Area. All Midlands Area divisions were paid £20,000 to transfer their offices to the National Union. During discussions regarding the transfer of the building it was discovered that the deeds were still legally under the ownership of Warwickshire Miners' Association, despite the union's change of name over forty years previously.

Fearing the UDM's ability to claim ownership of the Miners' Offices if they were to gain a majority in Warwickshire, the Warwickshire District opted to register as an independent trade union and return to being known as Warwickshire Miners' Association. The payment was returned, securing both ownership of the offices and financial independence from the NUM. Warwickshire Miners' Association continued with its benevolent functions until it was dissolved on 24 April 1998.
Access StatusRestrictions may apply
Access ConditionsItems containing information on named individuals may be restricted in accordance with data protection regulations.
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