Beginning, with the exception of London and Manchester, as local HalfHoliday or Early Closing Associations insufficiently bold to call themselves ‘trade unions’, their organisers took advantage of the brief period after the London Dock Strike of 1889 in which combination became relatively respectable, to meet in 1891 and form a National Union of Shop Assistants Warehousemen and Clerks. This included a United Shop Assistants Union of London dating from 1889 itself. Three members of this organisation had been imprisoned and fined for distributing handbills outside a grocers in the Harrow Road, London, appealing to the public not to shop after 4 pm on a Thursday afternoon.3 Early closing and ‘living in’ a practice associated with the great department stores of the day, which drove the celebrated H.G. Wells, as a young man, to return home to his mother, proved to be popular issues to campaign on. ‘Living-in’ strikes became a feature of the union’s activity and did not die out until the Second World War; nor did activity on early closing, working conditions and minimum rates, agitation spreading into hairdressing, wholesale drugs and other trades as well as drapery and dressmaking. On several occasions in the 1920s and 1930s determined efforts were made to secure an amalgamation between the Shop Workers and NUDAW. All fell by the wayside on insufficiency of ballot votes on one side or the other. The former turned its attention to the abolition of sweating in the retail trade and reinforced this by obtaining recognition from multiple grocers and department stores. It secured a Joint Industrial Council for the grocery trade in 1940 and a Wages Council in 1948. By this time the amalgamation with NUDAW had been achieved and the first national conference of the newly formed Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers had been held at Easter 1947. Notes 1. Wm. Richardson, A Union of Many Trades p.47. 2. Richardson, op. cit., p.63 and A. Hewitt, AUCE: Why it has Withdrawn

from the Trades Union Congress, 1915. 3. P.C. Hoffman, They Only Serve, pp.6-7. Bibliography Brown, W. Henry, The Co-operative Manager: Silver Jubilee History,

1912-37, York, 1937. Hallsworth, J. and T.W. Mercer, The Need for Trade Unionism in the Co-

operative Movement, Manchester, 1909, p.8.