Papers of Arthur Deakin CH CBE PC (1890-1955), trade union leader... Papers of Arthur Deakin CH CBE PC (1890-1955), trade union leader, 1934-1955
Articles, speeches, etc, by Deakin (and some others); miscellaneous items.
Arthur Deakin was born in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, on 11 November 1890, the illegitimate son of a servant. At the age of ten the family moved to Dowlais in Wales and three years later Deakin started work at the steel firm of Guest, Keen, and Nettlefold. He joined the National Union of Gasworkers and was greatly influenced by Keir Hardie, the local MP. In 1910 he moved to Shotton in North Wales and took a job as a roll turner at another steelworks. In 1911 he joined the Dock, Wharf, Riverside, and General Workers' Union and in 1919 became a full-time official. He was also a member of the small British Roll Turners' Society, of which he had briefly been general secretary.
After the Dockers' Union amalgamated to form the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1922, Deakin continued to serve as an area official in North Wales. In 1932 he became National Secretary of the General Workers National Trade Group and in 1935 he succeeded John Cliff as the union's second Assistant General Secretary. He acted as General Secretary while Ernest Bevin was Minister of Labour from 1940 to 1945, when Bevin resigned his union post and Deakin succeeded him as General Secretary. He held the post until his death on 1 May 1955, six months before he was due to retire.
Prior written permission to see unpublished material must be obtained from Siobhan Endean, Acting Director of Education, Unite, Transport House, 128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN, or by email via her personal assistant Joan Francis (Joan.Francis@unitetheunion.org). Publications may be consulted without permission.
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