Collection MS 84 - Association of Jute Spinners and Manufacturers

Identity area

Reference code

MS 84


Association of Jute Spinners and Manufacturers


  • 1915-1982 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

15 linear metres

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Association was founded in 1918 and its origins lay in the weekly informal meetings of producers in the Chamber of Commerce. Discussions at these meetings may have been on any or every aspect of the trade from the price of goods to wages paid, types of machinery and new developments. The Association was initially founded as a cartel to protect the prices of members' products. However, the founders rapidly saw the potential of a large and strong employers' organisation. Committees were set up to investigate every aspect of the trade and manufacturing process and the Association rapidly became the representative of all members in negotiating with employees - organised unions or otherwise. This also had an advantage for the unions in that no matter which firm employed their disputing members, they negotiated with the Association and any agreement was binding on all member firms and union members. The prinicple was that not only did the Association allow firms to avoid damaging price-cutting competition, but by joint representative negotiation with employees it helped avoid strikes over parity in wages. In many ways the Association's industrial relations were ahead of their time. Indeed the Dundee jute industry led the field in the use of work-study projects with the co-operation of the unions. This led to the introduction of a points system for grading jobs, and payment for them, on a scale according to difficulty and time required to perform each specific function. Consequently when the Equal Pay Act was introduced the Association's member firms had little problem in adjusting, as their pay scales were based on the difficulty factor of each operation, and they were among the first to convert to equal pay. The Association set the prices for jute goods until challenged by the monopolies commission under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act. Although the Association eventually won their case, fighting it was financially ruinous and they abandoned price setting. From an early membership of fifty-six spinners and manufacturers in Dundee and Tayport alone, by 1982 there were only four spinners and four manufacturers of jute in the entire UK.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Rules and byelaws 1915-1964, annual reports 1919-1982, minutes of members, general committee and various sub-committees 1918-1978, minutes of joint meetings with trade unions 1952-1968, subject files c.1942-1978, papers relating to Restrictive Trade Practices 1942-1964, miscellaneous statistics 1945-1982, papers relating to jute wages structure 1952-1974, miscellaneous papers and volumes 1915-1979, scrapbooks 1961-1968, photographs 1921-c.1968


Not expected

System of arrangement

Records are arranged within series. MS 84/20-MS 84/32: Miscellaneous subject files received without file numbers or with numbers that do not conform to file index. These have now been arranged as far as possible to correspond to subjects listed in the file index.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act (2018), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, 2018) and any other relevant legislation or restrictions. Clinical information is closed for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges may be made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply; please check with the Duty Archivist.

Language of material

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Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

The records are on paper and include photographs.

Finding aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

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Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

MS 84

Rules and/or conventions used

Description compiled in line with the following standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) General International Standard Archival Description; International Council on Archives, ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997



Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



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