Reference number
  • CUZ
Date
  • 1885-1986
Level
  • Collection
Description
  • Files relating to Cousins' work for the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU), as MP for Nuneaton, 1965-6, and as Minister of Technology, 1964-6; on various public bodies, e.g. ACAS and NEDC; personal correspondence, including papers of Alderman P. Judd, his father-in-law, photographs.
Extent
  • 44 boxes
Admin history
  • Frank Cousins was born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, on 8 September 1904, the son of a miner. In 1918 he left school and joined his father down the pit, joining the Yorkshire Miners' Association. After five years he left to drive a coal lorry and then, in 1931, became a long-distance lorry driver, carrying meat between Scotland and London, by which time he had already joined the Transport and General Workers' Union.

    In 1938 Cousins became a full-time official for the T&G in Doncaster. During the Second World War he transferred to Sheffield, and in 1944 he was appointed National Officer of the Road Transport Commercial National Trade Group. In 1948 he became National Secretary of the group. In 1955 he was appointed Assistant General Secretary, and on Jock Tiffin's premature death six months later he was appointed Acting General Secretary in January 1956, being elected to the post of General Secretary in May.

    Cousins provided great help to Harold Wilson in his bid to become Labour Party leader, and when Wilson became Prime Minister in October 1964 he invited Cousins to join the Cabinet as the first Minister of Technology. He was elected MP for Nuneaton in a by-election. However, he clashed with Wilson over the introduction of a statutory incomes policy and resigned both his office and his seat in July 1966. He retired from the T&G in September 1969, whereupon he became founding chairman of the Community Relations Commission, holding the post until November 1970. He refused a peerage, retired to Wrington, Somerset, and died on 11 June 1986.
Appraisal
  • This collection has been weeded for duplicates.
Access status
  • Open
Related Material
  • The Centre also holds the records of the Transport and General Workers' Union (MSS.126); the Internatonal Trransport Workers' Federation (MSS.159); Geoffrey Goodman (MSS.169); and the London Busmen's Movement (MSS.62).