The Lancaster Labour and Trades Council (LTLC) represented trades unions in Lancaster in the early part of the 20th century. Due to the strength of the family-owned oilcloth and linoleum firms in the town, there was very little trade union activity in Lancaster in the 1920s and the Labour party made only limited headway against the Liberals and Conservatives. (1) The LTLC did not join the Lancaster League of Nations (LNU) as a corporate member during the 1920s. This was not unusual, as local Labour parties tended to concentrate on building up local support for themselves, rather than joining non-political organisations. (2). Many individual members of the Labour Party, however, supported the principles of the League of Nations and joined their local branches, including Arthur Knowles, a President of the Divisional Labour Party in 1919, who became one of Lancaster LNU’s Vice-Presidents in 1925.
In Lancaster friction developed between the LTLC and Lancaster LNU (LLNU). This became evident when Arthur Knowles, having ceased to be an LLNU member, highlighted the lack of Labour representation on Lancaster LNU at a meeting of the LTLC in 1928. In his view the LLNU was dominated by Liberals and he considered it should have greater Labour representation to strengthen it. Nevertheless, the LTCL’s chairman, Mr H. Price JP, was elected on to Lancaster LNU’s Executive by 1930 and, by 1932, the Lancaster Trades and Labour Council had become a corporate member of Lancaster LNU.
(1) A. White, ed., 1993. A History of Lancaster 1193-1993. Keele: Keele Universty Press.
(2) H. McCarthy, 2011. The British People and the League of Nations. Manchester: Manchester University Press, ch.3.
Lancaster Guardian, 18 Aug 1928, 21 Mar 1930 & 18 Apr 1932.