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House Decorators and Painters

Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters

Registration books, 1873-1900 (MSS.78/ASHDP/2/1/1-2)

These books comprise basic lists of members entering the Society during this period. The two volumes are arranged alphabetically by the initial letter of the surname and, within each letter, by the date of the member’s admission to the Society. The limited information given includes: the member’s date of entrance to the society, his age and marital status on entry, and the branch he joined.

The Centre is open to the public and both registers are open. For external (postal/email/telephone) enquiries, the Centre is only able to help enquirers who can specify:

  • The full name of the person sought (not simply speculatively asking for information on a surname)
  • A location for the person in the period 1873-1900
  • Whether or not they were known to have been a member of the ASHDP
  • Precise dates of birth and death, and any other pertinent biographical details.

Searches are time-consuming, because members are arranged by their date of entry. The Centre's staff can only do a very limited amount of searching. Thus we can only accept enquiries concerning one individual and we need as much supporting biographical information (dates of death etc.) as possible.

Often, the two registration books are not able to provide any further information - indicating that the person in question was not a member of the union. Enquirers are asked to bear this in mind. Similarly, most members recorded in the books are in their 20s and 40s. These are not apprentice records and those younger than this are not recorded. Those over fifty are unlikely to appear.

Background Information

The Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters was established in 1872. It emerged from the struggle over amalgamation versus local independence of several London societies which had formed a loose federation, the General Council or General Association, in 1865. It took over the East London Painters’ Union and the Universal Federation of House and Ship Painters and Painters’ Labourers Union in 1900. In 1904 it amalgamated with the Manchester society, by then known as the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House Painters and Decorators to form the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House and Ship Painters and Decorators.

Only a small group of the society's papers has survived. They begin with the foundation of the second Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters in 1872. There are no papers of the East London or Bermondsey societies taken over in 1900. However in the amalgamation register of the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House and Ship Painters and Decorators (MSS.78/NASOHSPD/2/1/1) the return of the Plaistow branch differentiates ordinary Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters members and those who transferred the East London society.