Trade unionist, electoral reformist and politican: George Howell, 1833-1910

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The selected papers of George Howell, 1833-1910

The selected papers of George Howell, 1833-1910

Described as 'the best collection on the Victorian labour movement in the world', the archive of George Howell comprises one of the most valuable research resources on nineteenth century liberal and radical politics
Stefan DickerBishopsgate Institute

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Read accounts from chartists, methodists, and the Victorian labour movement

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With contacts including George Jacob Holyoake, Charles Bradlaugh, E. S. Beesly, Frederic Harrison and Karl Marx, George Howell was a well-connected member of the labour movement. Howell campaigned to secure the vote for all men and this led to him becoming the Secretary of the Reform League in 1865. A keen follower of Chartism and Methodism, he worked in many trades but was known for his public speaking. He was also active in the Nine Hours Dispute, the London Trades Council and the International Workingmen's Association. His work on the TUC's Parliamentary Committee then led him to Parliament and saw him serve as the MP for North East Bethnal Green before he retired.


Trade unionist, electoral reformist and politican: George Howell, 1833-1910...

Containing 28,734 pages belonging to 137 documents housed in 12 volumes...

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Autobiographical Works and Ephemera, 1833-1910

Autobiographical material concerning the life and career of George Howell, including handwritten autobiographical works, some journal entries, retrospectives of months...

International Working Men's Association Minute book, 1865-1870

Minute book kept by George Howell in his position as secretary of the General Council of the International Working Men's...

Records and documents relating to the Reform League, 1865-1869

Minutes and papers relating to the Reform League, detailing its organisation and activities, including minutes of the Reform League, cashbooks...

Trades Union Congress Committee Papers, 1868-1875

Trades Union Congress Committee Papers, minutes, pamphlets, press cuttings, reports and other material related to the Trades Union Congress, including...


  • While Howell was a labour movement activist and campaigner it his own right, a lot of the value of these papers comes from who he corresponded with. Key figures include George Jacob Holyoake and Samuel Plimsoll.
  • Howell's roles in the labour movement included Secretary of the London Trades Council, Secretary of the Reform League, member of the TUC's Parliamentary Committee and MP for North East Bethnal Green.
  • The Reform League was formed to campaign for all men to have the right to vote and be represented in Parliament. Howell's role as Secretary was key to its success and some of its papers feature in this collection.
  • The miscellaneous content relating to Howell includes articles of his which were published in the press. The first of these articles is a six page commentary on what Robert Owen's voluntary socialism really meant.
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