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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleShinwell; Emanuel (1884-1986); Baron Shinwell; politician
Extent40 boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryEmanuel Shinwell, 1884-1986, was born in Spitalfields, London, the eldest in a family of thirteen children of Samuel Shinwell, a clothing manufacturer of Polish-Jewish origin, and his Dutch wife, Rose Konigswinter. The family moved to Glasgow when Shinwell was at primary school, but he left school at the age of 11 to become an apprentice. In 1909, he began work at the Scottish Wholesale Co-operative Society. By 1912, he had become chairman of the Glasgow Trades Council, a position that he held again from 1916 to 1919. His involvement with the 40 hours strike committee in 1919 led to his imprisonment for 5 months.
Shinwell entered politics in 1922, becoming the Labour MP for Linlithgow, and rising to become Parliamentary Secretary for the Department of Mines in 1924, Financial Secretary for the War Office, 1929-1930, and Parliamentary Secretary for the Department of Mines, 1930-1931. In 1935, he defeated J Ramsay Macdonald in the election for Seaham.
Lord Shinwell declined to serve in Churchill's wartime government, preferring to remain an independent backbencher, active in broadcasting and opposing ship production policy. During this time he was chairman of the Central Committee for Reconstruction. He joined the post-war Labour government as Minister of Fuel and Power, and was given the task of nationalising the mines. The difficulties and failures of this task led to his demotion from the cabinet and transfer to Defence as Secretary of State for War, 1947-1950. He returned to the cabinet as Minister of Defence, 1950-1951, and maintained an interest in defence issues for the rest of his career. He was also chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party 1964-1967.
DescriptionPapers relating to Lord Shinwell's time as a backbench MP and peer; correspondence; publications by and collected by Shinwell; family papers; and photographs. Unfortunately, no papers survive to document Lord Shinwell's early trade union and Labour Party career and relatively few survive from his period in office in the 1945 Labour government.
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