Mann, Tom, 1856-1941

Alternative names
Birth 1856-04-15
Death 1941-03-13

Biographical notes:

Tom Mann was born in Coventry in 1856. Starting work at the age of nine, he eventually found his trade as an engineer in Birmingham and London, joining the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in 1881. An attempt to become the union's General Secretary in 1892 failed, but Mann had already gained fame as the leader of the 1889 London dock strike, and he became President of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland in the same year. This was a post he held until 1893, during which time he was also a member of the Royal Commission on Labour. Mann's political interests also grew during this time, and he became Secretary of the Independent Labour Party in 1894. An advocate of direct trade union action, Mann was imprisoned several times, both in Britain and abroad. Mann's career was truly international, and in 1896 he founded and became the first President of the International Transport Workers' Federation. He continued to be active in the labour movement throughout his life, founding the British Communist Party in 1920, and becoming General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (1919-20) and its successor, the Amalgamated Engineering Union (1920-1). He died in 1941.

Reference: The Concise Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1992).

From the guide to the Papers of Tom Mann, 1879-1956, (Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick Library)


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  • Labor leaders Great Britain


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