The Scottish Working People’s History Trust is a charitable body established in 1992 to champion the cause of working people’s history.
The Trust has three main aims:

  • Saving sources: to search for and assist in the preservation of surviving documentary source material of the history of working people.
  • Recording recollections: to interview working people throughout Scotland and record their recollections of their working lives, housing, education, recreational and other experiences.
  • Editing and publishing: to edit and publish these documentary source materials and oral recollections and encourage the making of television, radio, film and theatre productions about the history of working people in Scotland.

Labour records rescued thanks largely to the efforts of the Trust’s research worker, the late Dr Ian MacDougall, have found their way into a number of libraries and archives, including the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. The National Library holds the leading collection of archival research material relating to the history of Scottish labour and trade unionism. As well as the records of trade unions, co-operative societies and educational organisations there are personal papers of many individuals who were active in the labour and trade-union movement. A summary of the material held can be found at by clicking the following link: The National Library of Scotland

So far, the Trust has recorded recollections veteran miners, librarians, Leith shipyard workers, Leith seamen, Peeblesshire textile workers, Penicuik papermill workers and journalists. The original recordings are deposited in the School of Scottish Studies of the University of Edinburgh, while transcripts can be obtained from the Trust.

Trust books published are (click the publication title for further information):

Oh! Ye had to be careful – Personal Recollections by Roslin Gunpowder

Mill Factory Workers –  (East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 2000)

Bondagers – Eight Scots Women Farm Workers  (East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 2001)

Voices of Leith Dockers – Personal Recollections of Working Lives – (Edinburgh, Mercat Press, 2001)

Onion Johnnies – Personal Recollections of Nine French onion Johnnies of their Working Lives in Scotland – (East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 2002)

Mid and East Lothian Miners’ Association Minutes, 1894-1918  (Edinburgh, Scottish History Society, 2003)

Through the Mill Personal Recollections by Veteran Men and Women Penicuik Paper Mill Workers –  (Falkirk, Scottish Working People’s History Trust, 2009)

Voices of Scottish Journalists: Recollections of  22 Veteran Journalists. – (Edinburgh, Scottish Working People’s History Trust/Birlinn, 2013)

*All the above were edited by Dr Ian MacDougall
Lewis in the Passing – edited by Calum Fergusson (Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2007)

Voices of Scottish Librarians  – edited by Alan Reid and David Fletcher(Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2017)