Saturday, March 13, 2010

AESD Draughtsmen Union Banner 1949

Trade Union banner of the Association of Engineering & Shipbuilding Draughtsmen (AESD), May day Glasgow 1949

AESD Established 21st May 1913, Clydeside, Glasgow, Scotland by William Herd

AESD OFFICERS 1949 No1 Scotland

AESD Regional Secretary T. Mc Lennan 224 Archerhill Road, Glasgow, Scotland

Aberdeen—K. H. BROWN, 15 Redmoss Gardens, Nigg, Aberdeen
Angus—W. A. SIMPSON, 94 Ancrum Drive, Dundee
Clydebank—V. GIBB, 16 Plane Tree Road, Dalmuir, Glasgow.
Dumbarton—J. W. THACKERY, 12 Bruce Street, Dumbarton.
Edinburgh—G. M. ROBERTSON, 1 Fillyside Avenue, Edinburgh 7
Fife—F. BEATTIE, 63 Galloway Terrace, Wellesley Road, Methil, Fife
Glasgow East—G. CAPLAN, 27 Bolivar Terrace, Glasgow, S.2.
Glasgow North—J. P. DAVIES, 4 Hathaway Street, Glasgow, N.W.
Glasgow South—J. DREKNAN, 40 Crookston Place, Glasgow, S.W.2.
Glasgow South-West—A. MCDONALD, 275 Crow Road, Glasgow, W 1
Glasgow West—J. CAMERON, 2 Napiershall Street, Glasgow NW
Greenock—R. WILLI
AMSON, 37 Dempster Street, Greenock.
Hillington—T. N. KIKKE, 25 Harley Street, Glasgow, S.W.I.
Kllmarnock—R. OSMAN, 19 Langside Avenue, Shortlees, Kilmarnock.
Motherwell—Miss A. McCALL, 12 Glenbum Terrace, Carfln, Motherwell
Paisley—J. McLEOD, 17 Princess Crescent, Paisley.
Renfrew—W. MILLER, 16 Dunn Street, Paisley.
Scotland Central—WM. MARTIN, Birch Cottage, Ochil Street, AUoa, Clackmannanshire.
Solway—G. LANGHORNE, 9 Lediard Avenue, Currock, Carlisle.
West Cumberland—E. COATES, 4 Dalton Street, The Moor, Cockermouth Cumberland
Executive Member -T. SHAW- 789 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow

AESD Clyde Area Study Circle meetings at highland Insitute, Glasgow Chairman Mr T. McLennam key organiser Convenor Hugh McQuiston (21 years up to 1949) and treasurer Miss Annie Fitzsimons. Other officers Mr Alex, Finlay, Motherwell Branch and fergus Reid Glasgow South branch


The AESD was established on Wednesday 21st May 1913 at 158 West Regent Street, Glasgow, with William Herd (draughtsman at John Brown's shipyard) the key speaker.

The first Glasgow branch included James Young, George Thomson, Archie MacKellar and W. C. Keay

Young, Thomson and MacKellar became AESD union officals, W C Keay joined the association a few weeks after formation, the first member from outside shipbuilding. Keay became General secretary of the federation of professional Workers for nine years.

William Herd AESD died in the nineteen-twenties


George Thomson died in Birmingham on Thursday 7th July 1949; so passed on one of the outstanding personalities of the Association of Enginnering & Shipbuilding Draughtsmen (A.E.S.D)., and a man who had attained to the highest honour which the trade union movement can bestow, namely, president of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The outstanding characteristic of George Thomson was his integrity and honesty of purpose, a man who would always do what was right, irrespective of the possible personal con-sequences. He was a man it was an honour to count as a friend, and we were colleagues and close friends for over thirty years.

He was a native of Glasgow, Scotland educated at Allan Glen’s school in that city. He started his industrial career as a wood carver and modeller and he attended the Glasgow School of Art for two years under a bursary which he had won. He did not continue this vocation but switched to engineering, serving his apprenticeship with Ross & Duncan, a marine engineering firm.

His father, a chief engineer, was for some time in charge of a fleet of trawlers and. as a youngster George frequently sailed with the fishing fleet and there learned the difficult life which those engaged in the occupation have to undergo. Whether this experience was responsible for his change of occupation, I cannot say. Whilst serving his apprenticeship he attended classes at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, gaining the diploma of the College, and on completion of his apprenticeship was for a considerable time in the Preston area employed as a draughtsman. He then returned to Glasgow where he became the leading boiler draughtsman with Barclay Curie & Co., and was so employed until he became full-time editor of The Draughtsman in June, 1920.

His introduction to the socialist and Labour movement took place whilst he was attending the Glasgow School of Art. One of his two friends who were also attending the school had obtained some early socialist pamphlets and all three soon became interested and active members of the movement. Later, his two friends became Labour councillors in the city of Glasgow, while George subsequently became active in the industrial side of the movement. In his late ‘teens and early twenties he was active in the Clarion Scouts and was for a considerable period the general secretary of the Glasgow branch.

I first met George Thomson at an A.E.S.D. general meeting in 1916, when he played an active part in defeating a proposal to try to get the Association accepted as an approved society. It was not until a year later that I came into close contact with him. He, together with Peter Doig and Archie Mac-Kellar, came on to the executive committee of the Association in the early autumn of 1917, the E.C. at that time being drawn from the membership residing in and around Glasgow. It was then discovered that Doig and Thomson had been in the same class at Alien Glen’s.

During the 1914-1918 war, the New Age, under Orage, was advocating guild socialism and George Thomson, together with a number of other socialists in the west of Scotland, became interested. Later, three of them became responsible for the editorship of The Guildsman, a publication run by the Glasgow branch of the National Guilds League, which was an active organisation during and after the 1914-1918 war. His two colleagues were John Paton, a shop steward of the A.S.E., and. Edwin Muir, the well-known essayist, then a clerk in a Renfrew shipyard. His knowledge and activity in connection with this publication resulted in his being appointed towards the end of 1917, as the convener of the A.E.S.D.

Publications and Propaganda Committee In 1918, the Executive Committee decided to revive The Draughtsman, two issues of which had previously been published. George was appointed, honorary editor, with the undersigned in charge of the business side. The editorial committee consisted of George Thomson, Willie Herd (who has rightly been given the credit of forming the Association (AESD) ), D. Clark and the under-signed (James Young). Although politically. Herd and Thomson were poles apart, they became very firm friends. This, indeed, was another characteristic of George Thomson ; his ability to make firm friendships even with people with whom he was frequently in strenuous opposition. For two years he carried on the editorship of The Draughtsman, which was published every two months, whilst working as a draughtsman during the day. At the beginning of 1920 when I became assistant general secretary, George Thomson took over the complete responsibility for The Draughtsman.

In those days the paper was sold to the members and at the 1919, December, conference, when making my report on the business side of the paper I directed attention to the fact that if the paper was published monthly, it could easily support a full-time editor. This suggestion was seized on by the then general treasurer and at the next meeting of the Representative Council, held in the middle of 1920, conference decided that The Draughts-man should be issued monthly and George Thomson was offered the full-time editorship, which he accepted, and which he occupied with distinction until he retired about a year ago.

In the first Notes in The Draughtsman he stated. :—“We conceive the chief function of this journal to be that of acting as a weather cone to the Association to indicate to the best of our ability where the real storm centres are, to provide a platform of our own for the discussion of our own peculiar problems, and to assert the Association’s will forcibly and with what power of thought and language we can command.” A study of The Draughtsman during the thirty years he was responsible for its editorship will clearly demonstrate that he was faithful to the principles he set out in his first Notes. He received severe criticism from many quarters, some from the right and some from the left, but he continued to express the views which he personally considered were correct, irres-pective of the criticism of others.

His work in the Association is well known. Outside the Association he occupied many important posts in the trade union movement. He was elected to the General Council of the T.U.C. in 1935 and became chairman of. the General Council and presided over the 1947 Congress. His work during that year undoubtedly took a heavy toll on his physique.

He took a prominent part in the work of the National Federation of Professional Workers, and during his lifetime he was honorary secretary of the Science Advisory Committee of the Labour Party. He was elected chairman of the tech-nical section of the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical and Technical Employees and acted as the represen-tative of the T.U.C. at many conferences in connection with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) both in Europe and America.

During his career he had many tempting offers to leave the movement and undoubtedly he would have been a success in any sphere he chose to enter, but he felt that his rightful job was to serve the movement and the membership of the A.E.S.D. in particular. This he has done faithfully and the membership, both past and present, mourn the loss of one of the outstanding figures. thrown up from the drawing offices in this country. Our sympathy goes out to his wife and son at the present time.

James Young

The Draughtsman August 1949


1949 AESD Draughtsmen Union - Branches West London

Southall AESD J.F. Goodyer 9 Chatsworth Road, Yeading, Hayes

Acton AESD V. F. Colle 55 Muriel Street, Islington

Ealing AESD Miss D.E. Bareham 35 Northfield Avenue, West Ealing

Wembley North AESD D.W. Fairwater 80 uppingham Avenue, Stanmore

Wembley South F. Holmes 49 Chartley Avenue, Neasden NW2

London West AESD K.T. McKenzie 33 Cedar Road, London NW2

London West Central AESD R.H. Smith 424 London Road, West Croydon

London North West AESD C.S. Heiht 89 Vallance Road Bethnal Green E1

Slough AESD C.S. Brown "Bartletts" Wymers Wood Road, Burnham, Buckinghamshire

Southall AESD Draughtsmen union branch established 1948 (included members at AEC Southall)

Southall AESD Secretary J.F. Goodyer and Chairman Mr MaCullam

* AESD very active at Fairy Aviation but not sure if Southall or West London branch

Belfast North AESD Draughtsmen Union branch established a "Mixed Voice Choir" in Autumn 1949 and won remarkable sucess in its short period of existence, it won second place at the Belfast Musical festival and at Coleraine Musical Festival(Mr J Duncan - Secretary)

AESD later DATA later TASS later MSF later Unite