CWU History and Heritage Project

CWU History and Heritage Project

From time to time Branches and individual members contact the General Secretary’s Department regarding the storage and preservation of important historical Branch records and archives, which may be in danger of being lost or destroyed as a consequence of the changes taking place in our industries and the associated relocations of workplaces and Branches etc.

As a result, we have been considering how we preserve the history and heritage of CWU and its predecessor unions; and to do this we are launching a CWU History and Heritage Project.

It is extremely important that the union’s history is persevered and that future generations of trade unionists are given the opportunity to study and learn from the experiences of previous generations of workers.

The union’s archives are currently housed in Warwick University but many Branches have historic documents in their Branch offices and there is a concern that these may be inadvertently lost or destroyed when Branches or workplaces are relocated. Alternatively, such documentation may become damaged as a consequence of their age or how they are stored. We are aware that some Branches have minute books, documents and periodicals dating back to World War I, from the unions that were the forerunners of the CWU. We are also aware that Branch banners are occasionally replaced. With all these items it is important that they are not damaged or destroyed but are instead preserved as a record of the union’s history.

We understand that some Branches may be reluctant to part with what they consider to be part of their own Branch archives. However, other Branches have expressed the view that the national union should provide a facility for Branches to store their historical documentation centrally. This will ensure that documentation and artefacts are catalogued and preserved in a safe and secure environment, whilst also recognising that Branches and individuals would still be able to access their own Branch archives when necessary.

To get this project off the ground, I have asked my former Policy Adviser and Retired Member, Norman Candy, to oversee this important work. Any individuals or Branches willing to assist in developing the project can do so in two ways. Firstly, individuals who want to participate in the project should contact Norman on 07986 846 679 and at a suitable point we will convene a meeting to discuss the best way to shape the project going forward. Secondly, Branches or individuals who have historical documents or artefacts that they would like to store and preserve using a central facility, should also contact Norman on the same number.

I am sure that Branches and representatives will recognise the importance of this CWU History and Heritage Project and your co-operation in making this a success will be much appreciated.

Further information will be sent out in due course.

Any enquiries regarding this LTB should be sent to

Yours sincerely

Dave Ward

General Secretary


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