This collection contains both Meakin's own records and research material relating to him assembled mainly by Margaret Musgrave, his daughter, and Stephen Musgrave, his grandson and the depositor of this collection with his cousin John Burley. It covers several aspects of Meakin's career, notably the Trades Union Congress delegation to the Soviet Union and other visits to continental Europe. Meakin's own records include notes on these visits, and the research material includes numerous re-prints of original sources and of later articles.
Walter Meakin was born on 9 October 1878 in Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire. After working for the Midland Railway from 1894 to 1903 he became a journalist and from 1905 to 1911 he was in charge of the Leeds edition of the 'Yorkshire Observer'. In 1905 he married Lottie Lavinia McQueen and in 1906 their first child Margaret Esther was born.
Meakin took a leading role in the founding of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), serving on its executive committee from 1908, running its employment bureau and holding the post of wages secretary up to 1918. In 1920 he became the union arbitrator, securing the award to London journalists of their first minimum wage (£4 per week). In March 1923 he was elected NUJ president
In 1911 he joined the 'Manchester Guardian'. In March 1913 he helped to avert a threatened railway strike through an interview with a sacked railway guard called Richardson which was published in the 'Manchester Guardian' and other papers. Between 1913 and 1921 he made frequent visits to Ireland to cover events including the Easter Rising 1916 for the 'Manchester Guardian' and 'Daily News'.
In 1917 he joined the 'Daily News' in London as labour and industrial correspondent. In 1918 he also acted as the parliamentary correspondent. In 1920 he visited the Soviet Union as a journalist accompanying the Trades Union Congress British Labour Delegation. In 1927 he made a tour of German coalfields for the 'Daily News', and in 1928 the book resulting from this visit, 'The New Industrial Revolution', was published by Victor Gollancz Ltd. He also edited 'The Social and Economic Aspects of the Drink Problem', which was published by Gollancz in 1931.
He left the 'Daily News' when it is taken over by the 'News Chronicle', moving to the publicity department of the Labour Party. From June 1931 until his death he was secretary of the Press Fund. He died on 17 September 1940.
Reference: biography by Stephen Musgrave, 2008 (in 1229/18).