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Taff Vale Case Papers

The House of Lords' decision in favour of the railway company, in Taff Vale Railway Company versus Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants et al, 21 Jul 1901, AC 426, was the culmination of a decade of judicial whittling away of the rights granted to trade unions by the Trade Union Act 1871 (34-35 Vic., c.31) and the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875 (38-39 Vic., c.86). The Lords' decision limited legal picketing so that it was ineffective and opened union funds to damages sustained by a company during a strike. The decision, which led to a large increase in membership of the Labour Representation Committee (the Labour Party), was reversed by the Trade Disputes Act 1906 (6 Edw.VII, c.47).

Below is a list of records in the archive of the the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants relating to the dispute. The records are in the following series:


Financial records


ASRS publications

Other publications

Press cuttings

Legal papers

The list is followed by a bibliography








''Men's Committee Minute Book''.

Signed minute book of the local, originally unofficial, ASRS strike committee. It includes names and addresses of committee members.


23 Aug 1900-10 Mar 1901




Executive Committee inquiry into activities of James Holmes [South Wales and Western District Organising Secretary] before the strike was declared official: transcript of shorthand notes.


Sep 1900




Minutes of Executive Committee sub-committee to receive deputations from Taff Vale, Barry, Cardiff and Rhymney railways.

The deputations complained at failure to implement terms of Taff Vale settlement and asked for action by the ASRS to establish conciliation boards and remove imported labour.


28 Apr 1901




Minutes of meeting between ASRS Executive Committee sub-committee and Miners' Council Committee about joint action in Taff Vale by miners and railwaymen.


25 May 1901




Executive Committee inquiry into allegations by A March [found to be untrue] that Richard Bell had suppressed information which might have delayed the settlement of August 1900: shorthand notes and transcript.


16 Jun 1901




Annual General Meeting: printed agenda, including recommendations of Rules Revision Committee.


6-10 Oct 1902




Annual General Meeting: manuscript verbatim report of discussion concerning payment of Holmes' expenses in connection with the case.


8 Oct 1902




Special General Meeting: manuscript verbatim reports of discussion concerning charges against James Holmes, ASRS organiser in South Wales.

Charges that he had ''constantly and wilfully violated and defied [the Society's] rules and the decisions of [its] governing bodies''.


6-8 Jan 1903



Financial records



Accounts, vouchers and receipts for Taff Vale strike.

Original fascicles in original order and sequence. Most date from Aug-Sep 1900.





Taff Vale strike account, summary.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Aberdare.

This and subsequent accounts include payments to non-union strikers.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Abercynon.

Includes receipt from Signalman J Ewington for pay as acting secretary.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Llantrisant.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Ferndale.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Pontypridd.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Merthyr.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Walnut Tree.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Treherbert.

Expenses include Town Crier's fees.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Mountain Ash.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Tonypandy.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Radyr (Penarth Junction).






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid in Penarth.






Accounts, paysheets and vouchers for strike pay, picketing pay and incidentals paid for Cardiff No.1 branch.






Committee members' and secretary's expenses and pay sheets.






J Holmes's incidental expenses.

Up to R Bell taking charge of strike organisation.






John Dobson's [organising secretary] expenses. 1900




Accounts, receipts and vouchers for incidental expenses paid at Cardiff.

Includes subsistence expenses, costs of transporting blacklegs and cost of picket at Paddington Station.






Vouchers for hire of rooms, travelling and subsistence expenses, and printing costs.

For meetings, etc., before strike. Includes wrapper annotated with details of voucher numbers, amounts and cash book folios.


Aug 1899-Sep 1900




Statements of branches' costs [based on vouchers, etc., in MSS.127/AS/TV/2/1/2-14]. Statement showing numbers of members and non-members who received strike and picketing pay, and amounts paid out in expenses.





Bank account sheets.





Bank account sheets, ASRS account with National Provincial Bank. Jan-Dec 1900



Other financial records.





Cash summary of money raised for Holmes's defence.

[See Bagwell, 'The railwaymen...', p.223; and MSS.127/AS/TV/4/10/1, pages 11-19].






ASRS General Secretary's correspondence about the Taff Vale dispute.

MSS.127/AS/TV/3/26-32 is correspondence between Bell and Messrs Meyrick & Davies of Cardiff, ASRS's solicitors for the Taff Vale case, and Messrs Riddell & Company, Meyrick & Davies' London agents, 1900-1903.





Correspondence with George Thaxton [President of ASRS,1899-1901].

About activities of J Holmes and beginnings of strike, Aug 1900, and about course of trial and correspondence between Thaxton and Holmes, Dec 1902-Jan 1903.






Correspondence with W G Loraine [President, ASRS, 1902-4].

About defence of Holmes by ASRS and quarrel between Bell and Holmes.


Apr-Aug 1902




Correspondence and papers between Bell, Loraine and members of Executive Committee about Taff Vale Railway Company's [TVR] statement of claim and particulars of special damage.

Also includes 2 letters between Bell and Edmond Browne [Trades Union Congress (TUC) Standing Counsel] about legal protection of trade union funds following House of Lords' decision in Taff Vale case, Dec 1901; and typescript report of Executive Committee meeting about separation of ASRS legal defence and that of Holmes, 13 Mar 1902.


Jan 1902




Correspondence about breach of contract cases brought by Taff Vale Railway Company.

Includes several letters to Bell from Messrs Meyrick and Davies [ASRS solicitors in Cardiff] on course of these cases. With press cuttings and correspondence about charges of intimidation during strike, Oct-Nov 1900.

Original file; letter, Ewington to Bell, 14 Sep 1900, transferred to MSS.127/AS/TV/3/5/1-27.


Sep-Nov 1900




Correspondence about settlement of strike and Signalman Ewington's case.

Includes unidentified notes about negotiations; correspondence with C T Ritchie [President, Board of Trade, 1895-Nov 1900; later 1st Baron Ritchie], F J S Hopwood [Secretary, Railway Department, Board of Trade, and Board of Trade negotiator in Taff Vale strike; later 1st Baron Southborough], and Signalman Ewington.

Under the terms of the strike settlement, Ritchie was to decide whether Ewington had been unfairly treated by the Taff Vale Railway Company (TVR). Ritchie decided that Ewington had no grounds for complaint, 20 Oct 1900. Correspondence includes a long (9 pages) signed statement of his case by Ewington, with copies of some correspondence, and a reply (12 pages) by the TVR's General Manager, Ammon Beasley.


Aug-Nov 1900




Correspondence with branches about enforcement of settlement terms.


Feb-Mar 1901




Correspondence with ASRS branches about meeting of Executive Committee delegation and delegates from all South Wales lines, and later meeting with Executive Committee of South Wales miners.

[See General Secretary's report to Executive Committee meeting, 11 Mar 1901, para.19b, ASRS 'Proceedings and Reports', 1901, MSS.127/AS/1/1/27].


Apr 1901




Correspondence with Welsh branches about various aspects of the strike.

Includes Dave B Ridley of Cardiff, about questioning by Taff Vale Railway Company (TVR) about the strike, 20 Aug 1901; M Jones of Pontypridd [Executive Committee member] about South Wales Joint Movement, Jan 1902; Abel Thomas of Gloucester about resignation by Russell Rea [1846-1916] as vice-chairman of TVR board, Jan 1902; two members about pension awarded to TVR to Driver Moger, who did not strike, Mar 1902.

Many of the carbon copies of letters in this group are typed on the back of a printed manifesto for the South Wales Joint Movement, 13 Mar 1900, see Bagwell, 'The Railwaymen...', pages 210-212.


Aug 1901-Aug 1902




Correspondence with branch secretaries about tracing blacklegs involved in 1900 strike.

ASRS wanted the men to testify that they had been recruited misleadingly by the Taff Vale Railway Company. Very few were traced, most had given false addresses. Includes TVR's terms of employment, which include protection against ''serious intimidation''.


Aug-Sep 1901




Correspondence with Executive Committee members, A McLaren [Secretary, Liverpool No.1 branch], and other branches.

About injunction successfully brought by McLaren to prevent ASRS funds being used to pay for Holmes's defence [Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al].

McLaren argued that Holmes had disobeyed ASRS rules and was acting in a personal capacity during the strike. Includes unattributed opinion on effect of House of Lords' decision in the Taff Vale case, recommending ASRS to divide into two societies, one for benevolent purposes, the other for trade union purposes.

MSS.127/AS/TV/3/10 and MSS.127/AS/TV/3/11 were originally three overlapping files.


Feb-Oct 1902




Correspondence with Messrs Pattinson and Brewer [ASRS's London solicitors] about Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al.

Includes writ originating case and Edmond Browne's opinion on effect of an appeal against the injunction on the Taff Vale Railway case. MSS.127/AS/TV/3/10 and MSS.127/AS/TV/3/11 were originally three overlapping files.


Feb-Oct 1902




Correspondence mainly with L Hooton [secretary, Doncaster branch].

About the Doncaster branch's printed letter, 'Taff Vale dispute. Holmes' defence. A reply to Mr McLaren of Liverpool No.1', criticising the Liverpool branch for taking out an injunction against the union [Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al]. Includes printed circular accompanying 'A reply...'.


Sep-Oct 1902




Correspondence with branches about Holmes' defence fund, Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al, and Executive Committee decisions of 11 Mar 1902 to separate Holmes' defence from that of ASRS, but for ASRS to pay for his defence.

Correspondence arranged alphabetically by branch. Includes extracts from branch minutes about Taff Vale strike and correspondence about alleged intimidation during that strike. See Bell's correspondence with Quakers Yard branch, Cardiff, for his version of events at the Executive Committee meeting [MSS.127/AS/TV/3/13/98-126].

Also includes: 'The Labour Pioneer', vol.III, no.9 (Sep 1902, Cardiff), edited by T J Hart [Executive Committee member, see MSS.127/AS/TV/3/14], containing article 'James Holmes versus TVR', supporting Holmes, and programme for Independent Labour Party (ILP), Cardiff branch.

Some copy out-letters are written on the back of Sick Fund order and official receipt forms and return of hours of duty form.


Jan-Sep 1902




Correspondence with T J Hart {Executive Committee member for Quakers Yard branch, Cardiff].

About Executive Committee instructions and ASRS rules allegedly violated by Holmes.

[See also MSS.127/AS/TV/3/13/50].


Jul-Aug 1902




Correspondence about disparaging remarks by C W George [Executive Committee member for Liverpool] on the abilities of the ASRS's lawyers and Bell's handling of the strike.


Jul-Aug 1902




Correspondence about disparaging remarks about Bell by Alfred Lusty [Executive Committee member] to London District Council.


Jul-Aug 1902




Miscellaneous correspondence.

Includes letters from Bell while on holiday; some correspondence with branches about documents needed for trial, and about resolutions put to Executive Committee meetings; correspondence with members about witnesses for trials; correspondence with Sir Francis Hopwood, arranging meeting with Bell; letter to Parliamentary Committee of Trades Union Congress (TUC), that ASRS alone will not appeal against Jan 1903 verdict, but that it would pay a proportionate share if other trade unions wished to appeal; numbers of ASRS members on strike in Taff Vale, Aug 1901; membership numbers for ASRS branches in Holmes' district, 1893-1900.

[See also MSS.127/AS/TV/3/25].


Jul 1902-Jan 1903




Correspondence between Bell, Loraine and Holmes, about Holmes' reply to Bell's report to the Annual General Meeting.

Includes proof of Holmes' reply.

[See Bell's 'Statement to the President and Annual General Meeting Representatives' in 'Proceedings and Reports' 1902, MSS.127/AS/1/1/28].


Oct 1902




Original file of correspondence between Bell and Holmes, showing their increasing acrimony.


May 1899-May 1900




Miscellaneous correspondence between Bell and Holmes about branch organisation and accounts.


Sep 1901-Oct 1902




Correspondence with branches about membership numbers at outbreak of August 1900 strike, for affidavit.


Aug 1902




Correspondence with Trades Union Congress (TUC) Parliamentary Committee and Scottish Trades Union Congress Parliamentary Committee about Taff Vale case.

Includes letter and printed circular by Edmond Browne, 'Taff Vale Railway Picketing' [1900]; and printed circular by TUC Parliamentary Committee about case.


Oct-Dec 1900




Correspondence with other trade unions about strike.

Includes correspondence with Operative Printers' Assistants' Society and National Amalgamated Labourers' Union about some of their members who had been blacklegs in the Taff Vale strike.


Aug-Sep 1900




Correspondence with branches, with the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) and with the South Wales Miners' Federation.

Correspondence asking for support for Taff Vale men to enforce settlement terms. The miners' refusal [because of pit closures and preparations for changes in the sliding scale] led to the ASRS deciding against renewed agitation.


Apr-Jun 1901




Correspondence and lists of men summonsed during the Taff Vale strike for breach of contract.


Sep 1900





Includes a long letter about the Taff Vale Railway Company's attitude to outstanding cases immediately after settlement of the strike, 3 Sep 1900; legal aspects of Mr Justice Farwell's decision and consideration of different QCs who might be asked to act for ASRS, 7 Sep 1900; and letter from W S Robson, QC, MP, who had been briefed to appear for ASRS but was unable to attend because an Irish case he was arguing in Cork continued for too long, 23 Nov 1900.


Aug-Dec 1900






Mar-Dec 1901





Includes notes by George Beadon [Taff Vale Railway employee and chairman of strike committee] of questions about Taff Vale strike asked by TVR's solicitors, Sep 1901; occasional political comments, e.g. Meyrick & Davies to Bell, 20 Feb 1902.


Jan-Apr 1902





Includes advice on evidence by A Clement Edwards KC, 11 Jun 1902, and Edwards' opinion on Mr Justice Joyce's decision in Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al, recommending ASRS not to appeal because of the effects on the Taff Vale case, Jul 1902.


May-Aug 1902





Includes discussion of evidence to be given in damages trial, including whether or not to call C T Ritchie or Sir Francis Hopwood, and Bell's version of Aug 1900 negotiations with Board of Trade. Also includes schedule of documents used in preparing evidence [MSS.127/AS/TV/3/30/32].


Sep-Dec 1902





Includes correspondence with President Loraine and W H Shaw [Executive Committee member], delegated with Bell by Executive Committee to settle with Taff Vale Railway Company, and terms of settlement [MSS.127/AS/TV/3/31/28]. TVR had claimed £24,626 special damages plus costs but accepted £14,000 plus £9,000 costs.


Jan-May 1903




Typescript copies of branch correspondence.

Copied by Messrs Meyrick & Davies for trial, mostly about strike; branches include Llantrissant, Tonypandy, Treherbert, Abercynon, Pontypridd, Aberdare, Merthyr and Barry.


Jul 1900-Feb 1901




Correspondence with Harley Downs, Holmes' solicitor.


Sep-Dec 1902




Miscellaneous papers.

Including analysis of ASRS members employed in different grades on Taff Vale Railway, undated; printed application for employment with TVR; note of Executive Committee resolution No.36, 1898, about guaranteed week on TVR.






Telegrams (mainly) and letters from branches and localities, reporting traffic movements, movements of blacklegs, the local situation, attitude to the dispute, etc.

Aberavon (Port Talbot branch) [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/1-2]; Abercynon [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/3-13] (secretary J Ewington, whose treatment by the Taff Vale Railway was one of the occasions of the strike); Aberdare [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/14-39]; Aberdeen [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/30]; Accrington [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/41]; Ardwick [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/42]; Ashton under Lyne [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/43]; Barnsley [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/44]; Barrow [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/45]; Barry [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/46-50]; Bersham [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/51]; Birkenhead [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/52]; Bradford [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/53]; Brecon [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/54]; Bury [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/55]; Caerphilly [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/56]; Cardiff [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/57]; Chichester [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/58]; Cowbridge [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/59-63]; Craven Arms [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/64]; Crewe Rail [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/65]; Dublin [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/66]; Laisterdyke (Bradford) [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/101]; Liverpool [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/102-115]; Llantrisant [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/116-121]; Manchester [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/122-5]; Manningham [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/126]; Merthyr Tydfil [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/127-136]; Mountain Ash [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/137-9]; Neath [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/140]; New Wortley, Leeds [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/141]; Newcastle upon Tyne, Central and City [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/142-144]; Newport [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/145-7]; Parkhead [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/148]; Penarth (1st item on back of circular from James Holmes, 18 Aug 1900) [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/149-61]; Pentyrch [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/162]; Peterborough [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/163]; Plymouth [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/164]; Pontypridd [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/165-183]; Porth [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/184]; Quakers Yard [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/185-7]; Radyr [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/188-191]; Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/192-3]; Rhymney Railway [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/194-5]; Saltburn [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/196]; Saltley, Birmingham [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/197]; Scottish office (John G Muir, Organising Secretary) [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/198-207]; Selby [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/208]; Sheffield [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/209]; Small Heath, Birmingham [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/210]; Stockport [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/211-212]; Sunderland [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/213]; Swansea [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/214-217]; Swindon [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/218-9]; Tondu [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/220]; Tonypandy [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/221-3]; Tredegar [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/224]; Treherbert [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/225-36]; Walnut Tree branch [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/237]; Walsall [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/238]; York [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/1/239].


Aug-Sep 1900




Communications from Edward Garrity and others in London.

Includes 2 letters from John Dobson, London Organising Secretary, about meetings addressed in Wales [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/2/2-3], and letter from John Rogers about attempt to dissuade blacklegs at Paddington [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/2/6]. Mainly date from August.


Aug-Sep 1900




Correspondence with other unions, trades councils, etc.

Includes: Aberavon, Port Talbot and District Trades and Labour Council; Amalgamated Association of Tramway, etc., Employees, Cardiff branch; Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, etc., Merthyr branch; British Steel Smelters' Amalgamated Association, J Macpherson, assistant secretary, Mossend, Glasgow branch; Cardiff, etc., Coal Trimmers' Union; Dock, etc., and General Workers' Union, Gloucester branch and Swansea District; General Railway Workers Union, Swindon; Merthyr, etc., Trades and Labour Council; National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, etc., Cardiff branch; Pontypridd and District Trades Council (South Wales Miners' Federation): (W.) Brace.






Correspondence from sympathisers and enquiries.

Includes: anonymous anti-imperialist letter [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/4/1]; letter from Revd Theo. Bull, chaplain of Salisbury Infirmary [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/4/2].






Miscellaneous correspondence.

Includes telegrams and letters from George Thaxton, ASRS President [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/5/1-4]; telegram from [J.] Inskip, former chairman of Taff Vale Railway, 28 Aug 1900, reporting meeting with [R L G] Vassall, chairman, and move towards settlement [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/5/5].






Documents (or copies) issued by the Taff Vale Railway Company and other companies, in connection with the dispute.

Includes circular sent to those applying for work during the dispute [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/6/12]; Barry Railway Company notice to quit garden [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/6/16].






Small group of ASRS papers.

Taff Vale Railway Company: printed circular - rates offered to those taking up employment, 19 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/1]. ASRS Aberdare branch: local situation, 21 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/2].

Claim and summons: Taff Vale Railway Company against William Matthews for breaking contract, 21 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/3-4].

Orders of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction sitting at Cardiff [against Taff Vale employees], 30 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/5/1-21].

'Morning Leader': cuttings about peace negotiations (mounted on the back of ASRS Sick Fund order and receipt), 30 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/6].

Taff Vale Railway Company, Goods Manager's office: letter to James Knox about his willingness to resume duty and company policy, 4 Sep 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/7].

ASRS list of 11 blacklegs, annotated as to their whereabouts, undated [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/8].

List submitted by James Taylor of Taff Vale Railway employees not reinstated immediately on settlement of strike, undated [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/9].

King's Bench: Taff Vale Railway Company versus ASRS etc.: printed first day's proceedings, 3 Dec 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/ADD/3/7/10].

Found by ASRS early in 1981 after the move from Unity House.





ASRS publications




'Taff Vale Railway strike, August 1900. Copies of correspondence and terms of settlement'.

6 pages.






'The picketing case. Successful appeal'.

Printed report of proceedings and judgment in Court of Appeal, 12 Nov 1900, Taff Vale Company versus ASRS et al: ASRS's successful appeal against Mr Justice Farwell's judgment granting TVR's request for an injuction against the union.

7 pages.






'Crisis in the Society', G.O., No.134: printed circular.

1 page.


Jul 1900




'The Lords' decision on the Taff Vale case. Debate in the House of Commons, May 23, 1902'.

Commons' debate of 14 May 1902, reprinted from the 'Railway Review', 23 May 1902.

20 pages.






General Secretary's 'Statement' on the Taff Vale case and the injunction to the President and Annual General Meeting Representatives, Swansea, Oct 1902: typescript draft and related papers.

Includes shorthand notes for the same; handbill calling mass meeting in Pontypridd, 19 Aug 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/36]; copies of correspondence between Bell, Holmes and others, Aug 1899-Jan 1900; original [?] wet-press copies of Bell - Holmes correspondence, 1899 [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/68]; leaflet by Holmes, 15 Aug 1900, calling for a strike [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/69]; typescript notes of irregular disputes dealt with by ASRS, Apr 1898-Dec 1900 [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/79]; typescript ''Summary of Correspondence prior to the strike'' [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/80]; typescript memorandum of Bell's relations with Holmes, giving instances of clashes and quoting newspaper proceedings of the weakening of Bell's national position [MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5/89-101].

[See ASRS 'Proceedings and Reports', 1902, 'Decisions of the Annual General Meeting and Special General Meetings', pages 17-57, MSS.127/AS/1/1/28].






General Secretary's 'Statement': typescript draft, revised version of MSS.127/AS/TV/4/5 (?).






General Secretary's 'Statement': corrected proofs; Taff Vale Railway's Statement of Claim, proof copy.

[See ASRS 'Proceedings and Reports', 1902, 'Decisions of the Annual General Meeting and Special General Meetings', pages 58-75, MSS.127/AS/1/1/28].






'Report of the Executive Committee Representatives re the Taff Vale and Injunction Cases'.

Corrected proofs and copies of correspondence, 1900-1902, between Bell, Holmes and Messrs Meyrick & Davies.

[See ASRS 'Proceedings and Reports', 1902, 'Decisions of the Annual General Meeting and Special General Meetings', pages 76-88, MSS.127/AS/1/1/28].






'The General Secretary's Report and Decisions of Executive Committee',pages 17-64.



8 Sep 1902




Richard Bell MP, 'The law and trade unions. A brief review of recent litigation, ... with an appendix containing verbatim reports of the judgements delivered in the House of Lords in the case of the Taff Vale Railway Company versus The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and other important cases'. London.

95 pages.






ASRS Reception Committee: 'Annual General Meeting, Cardiff, 1906. Souvenir'.

Cardiff, Western Mail Limited.

Includes article on Taff Vale dispute and details of the financing of Holmes' defence (unattributed), pages 11-19; photographs of leading figures in the Taff Vale dispute; and summary of Cardiff's history.

63 pages.





Other publications




Trades Union Congress (TUC) Parliamentary Committee, 'A report of the picketing case on the Taff Vale Railway'.

London. 18 pages.






'Taff Vale dispute. August, 1900': cartoons [by JMS] reprinted from 'The Western Mail'.






Trades Union Congress (TUC) Parliamentary Committee, 'Trade Unions and Trades Dispute Bill (Second Reading, April 22nd, 1904)'.

Report of Commons' debate and division list, reprinted from the 'Railway Review', 29 Apr 1904. This Bill was the basis for the 1906 Act which restored trade unions to the pre-1901 position: it allowed peaceful picketing and stated that courts should not entertain a suit against a union alleging tortious acts. Printed in London. 19 pages.






Printed transcript of proceedings before the High Court, King's Bench Division, in Denaby & Cadeby Main Colleries Limited versus Yorkshire Miners' Association et al.

Like the Taff Vale Railway Company, the colliery sued the union for damages caused by an illegal strike, that is a strike called without due notice. Lawrence J. and a special jury decided (13 Feb 1904) that the colliery had a case, but that judgement was overturned by the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. The Lords decided that the union was not liable for damages if those procuring the strike were not authorised by the union's rules or actions. Nor was anyone who helped the workmen to strike (in breach of their contracts) liable for damages to the employer. ([1906] A.C.384).


27 Jan-9 Feb 1904



Legal papers

See also MSS.127/AS/TV/3/1-34.





Papers concerning Mr Justice Farwell's decision, 5 Sep 1900.






Writ, summons and affidavits.

Writ brought by Taff Vale Railway Company claiming injunction to stop ASRS picketing TVR workmen, 23 Aug 1900; summons to attend court, 24 Aug 1900; affidavits [copies] of George Beadon of Cardiff, Ammon Beasley of Cardiff [General Manager, TVR], Richard Bell, Isaac Crockes of Cardiff, William Cullen of Cardiff, Edward Garrity [Assistant Secretary, ASRS], Charles Hawkins of Trerhingyll near Cowbridge, John Harry Matthews of Cardiff, Thomas Richards of Cardiff, Tom Hurry Riches [Chief Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent, TVR], George Ritson of Manchester, William Scott [Chief Detective Inspector, Cardiff Constabulary], Albert March of Cardiff, Thomas Andrews Walker of Penarth [Goods Manager, TVR], Thomas Williams of Cowbridge, and Walter Thomas Williams of Cardiff, all dated Aug 1900.


Aug 1900




Manuscript transcript of Mr Justice Farwell's judgment, 5 Sep 1900, in Taff Vale Railway Company versus ASRS.






Papers concerning ASRS's appeal from Mr Justice Farwell's decision to the Court of Appeal.

There are no papers in the deposit concerning the actual appeal itself.

[See MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/5/1, pages 77-82, for copy of Court of Appeal's judgments.






Manuscript transcript of proceedings in Chancery Division, High Court of Justice, about timetable of appeal by ASRS.


25-26 Oct 1900




Typescript ''observations'' for Counsel on the appeal from Mr Justice Farwell's decision.


[Sep-Oct 1900]




Documents concerning Taff Vale Railway Company's appeal to the House of Lords from the Court of Appeal's decision.






Printed petition of appeal, appellants' case, respondents' case, appendix.

Appendix includes copies of previous judgements, court orders and affidavits.






Printed transcript of proceedings in House of Lords, 12-16 Jul 1901, and judgement, 22 Jul 1901.






Legal papers relating to Alfin et al versus Hewlett et al.

[See also MSS.127/AS/TV/3/10-11].






Affidavits, etc.

Affidavit of Alexander McLaren, 29 May 1902 [MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/1]; incomplete affidavits of Executive Committee members about Executive Committee meeting of 10 Mar 1902 [MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/2]; unsigned affidavit of T J Hart of Cardiff [MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/3]; copy of Mr Justice Joyce's injunction, 17 Jun 1902 [MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/4]; manuscript opinion of Robert Younger KC, advising against an appeal, 20 Jun 1902 [MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/5].






Manuscript transcript of proceedings in the Court of Appeal against Mr Justice Joyce's injunction.

The appeal was held over and withdrawn.


11 Aug 1902




Legal papers concerning the separate defence of J Holmes.






Opinion of Ivor Bowen KC.


22 Sep 1902




Legal papers concerning Taff Vale Railway Company's damages claim.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

Includes: writ issued on behalf of Taff Vale Railway Comapny against ASRS, 23 Aug 1900; subpoena ordering Bell to appear in court, 3 Dec 1902 and succeeding days, and to bring various documents with him; TVR's statement of claim and particulars of special damages, 24 Dec 1901; defence of ASRS, Philip Hewlett, George W Alcock and John Pilcher [ASRS's trustees], 12 Mar 1902; further particulars of defence of the same, 5 May 1902; defence of Richard Bell, 12 Mar 1902; further particulars of defence of the same, 5 May 1902; defence of James Holmes, 5 May 1902; transcript of proceedings before Mr Justice Wills, including his summing up, 3-19 Dec 1902; terms of settlement, injunction and judgement, 23 Feb 1903. Volume marked ''office''.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

Includes: transcript of proceedings, 3-19 Dec 1902; and terms of settlement, injunction and judgement, 23 Feb 1903.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

As MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/11/1.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

As MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/11/1, but also includes Taff Vale Railway Company's statement of claim and particulars of special damage, 24 Dec 1901.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

As MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/13/1, marked ''A. Mear''.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

As MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/13/1, marked ''J. Muir''.






Volume of printed copies of documents.

As MSS.127/AS/TV/7/LE/7/13/1, marked ''J. Williams''.






Unbound printed copies of transcripts of proceedings, 3-19 Dec 1902, and terms of settlement, injunction and judgement, 23 Feb 1903.






Unbound printed copies of writ issued on behalf of Taff Vale Railway Company against ASRS, 4 Dec 1901; TVR's statement of claim and particulars of special damage, 24 Dec 1901; defence of Bell, 12 Mar 1902; defence of ASRS, 12 Mar 1902.






Typescript instructions to Counsel to advise and settle draft statement of defence for ASRS and Bell.

Includes a ''History of the Strike'' and quotes extensively from correspondence and newspapers.


14 Jan 1902




Printed affidavit of Richard Bell in answer to plaintiff's interrogatories.


29 Sep 1902




Printed extracts from General Secretary's reports to Executive Committee and Annual General Meetings.


(Mar 1900-Oct 1902)




Typescript copy of report to Cardiff Chamber of Commerce by its secretary, W R Hawkins, about the Chamber's attempt to mediate.

Copy made by Messrs Meyrick & Davies.


Aug 1900



Press cuttings




Press cuttings about dispute.

Newspapers represented include 'Railway Review', 'Western Mail', 'South Wales Daily News' and 'Shipping World'.






Press cuttings about dispute with London and North Western Railway about Linaker libel case.

An open letter printed in the 'Railway Review' had accused Superintendent Linaker of oppressive conduct and drunkenness. Linaker sued the paper for libel and his successful suit was followed by the dismissal of the men who testified against him. Newspapers represented include the 'Daily Dispatch', the 'Manchester Guardian' and the 'Manchester Evening News'.

Enclosed with MSS.127/AS/TV/10/1/1-83.

[See General Secretary's report to the special meeting of the Executive Committee, 26 May 1901, pages 1-10 [folios 73-81], and General Secretary's report to the Annual General Meeting, 1 Oct 1901, pages 3-4 [f.573], ASRS 'Proceedings and Reports' 1901, MSS.127/AS/1/1/27].

May 1901




The following addition should be noted : R.G. Neville, 'In the wake of Taff Vale : the Denaby and Cadeby miners' strike and conspiracy case, 1902-06' in J. Benson & R.G. Neville (eds.), Studies in the Yorkshire coal industry (Manchester UP, 1976). That the case "was the first and last major trial of strength which occurred during the period in which the Taff Vale decision was of practical significance" (Neville, op.cit., p.145) accounts for the existence of a printed transcript of King's Bench proceedings Jan-Feb 1904 with the Taff Vale case papers (MSS.127/AS/TV/5/4).

The committees responsible for the Centre take this opportunity of thanking the National Union of Railwaymen both for the continuing deposit of records and for agreeing to the publication of this leaflet.

The records of the other major legal case involving the ASRS, the Osborne Case, and general administrative records of the ASRS have been catalogued by Christine Woodland, in Occasional Publication no.4 (1979).

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