First name/s: James
Last name: Jones
Known names / nicknames: Jack
Date of birth: 29/03/1913
Year of birth: 1913
Life before Ruskin
Date and place of birth: 29 March 1913 Garston, Liverpool
Family: Son of George Henry Jones, docker, and Annie Sophie, née Diploc; one half-sister and two half-brothers.
Work: apprentice engineer 1927, when the company bust became dock worker
Politics/Trade union activity: secretary of local Labour Party aged 16; joined Transport and General Workers’ Union 1927; elected Shop Steward 1930.
Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin) TGWU
Life at Ruskin
Dates at Ruskin:correspondence course early 1930s; exact dates unknown
Source of funding:
Subjects studied at Ruskin: correspondence course on economics, economic geography, etc.
Life after Ruskin
Education:course in economics at Liverpool Labour College
Work:Full-time district TGWU official in Coventry 1939; TGWU Regional Secretary for midlands area 1955; Executive Officer of TGWU (3rd rank in union) at national level 1963; elected general secretary of TGWU 1969; retired from TGWU 1978; Board of Crown Agents 1978–80 and the royal commission on criminal procedure (1978–80); a vice-president of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (1976–), Age Concern, England (1978–), and the European Federation of Retired and Elderly Persons (1991–); and chairman of the trustees of the National Museum of Labour History (1988–2003).
Politics/trade union activity: In addition to trade union work (above) elected Labour Party councillor in Liverpool 1936; joined International Brigade in 1937 and fought against Franco in Spanish Civil War – wounded at Ebro, 1938.
Family:Married Evelyn Mary Brown, née Taylor (1913–1998) in 1938; two sons James (b. 1942) and Mick (1944-2012).
Place & date of death: 21 April 2009
Cherrycroft Care Home, Dewar Street, Peckham Rye
Date of death: 21/04/2009
Year of death: 2009
Achievements / Publications
Exceptionally powerful TU leader with high profile: In 1977 an opinion poll by Gallup revealed that a majority of the British public regarded him as having more power than the prime minister.
On retirement was awarded Companion of Honour, but insisted it was bestowed on the TGWU rather than him personally.
Wrote illuminating article on his early education and Liverpool Labour College: Jack Jones, ‘A Liverpool Socialist Education’, History Workshop Journal 18 (1984), pp. 92-101.
Wrote autobiography Union Man (1986; 2nd ed. 2008)
Contributed to Industry’s Democratic Revolution (1974)
(with Max Morris)A–Z of Trade Unionism and Industrial Relations (1982)
Material in archives or already published articles
Papers in Modern Record Centre, Unversity of Warwick; interviews in National Sound Archive, British Library.
Obituaries in The Times (23 April 2009); Daily Telegraph (23 April 2009); The Guardian (23 April 2009 and 29 April 2009); The Independent (23 April 2009); Morning Star (23 April 2009); Daily Mirror (23 April 2009); Daily Mail (23 April 2009); The Herald [Glasgow] (23 April 2009)
Notes on Image/s
K. Williams, portrait, 1969, National Library of Wales; repro. in K. Williams, Portraits (1996), 65; B. L. Schwartz, dye transfer print, 1977, National Portrait Gallery; S. Morse-Brown, pastels, 1979, repro. in D. F. Raine and et al., The imprisoned splendour: the life and work of Sam Morse-Brown (1993), 184; R. Miller, toned bromide print, 1996, national Portrait Gallery; G. Scarfe, portrait, repro. in G. Scarfe, Line of attack (Hamilton, 1988), 86; photographs, repro. in Jones, Union man
Comment of contributor/s and sources
Geoffrey Goodman, ‘Jones, James Larkin [Jack] (1913–2009)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2013 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/101871, accessed 28 Oct 2013]
Jack Jones, ‘A Liverpool Socialist Education’, History Workshop Journal 18 (1984), pp. 92-101.
Jack Jones, Union Man (1986; 2nd ed. 2008)