Shackleton, Sir David James

WM trade unionist and politician, was born on 21 November 1863 at Cloughfold near Rawtenstall, and was educated at a dame-school. He began working part time in a cotton mill at the age of nine and full-time from thirteen. He rose through the ranks of the cotton trade unions being the General Secretary of the Ramsbottom, and then from 1894 to 1907 of the Darwen, Weavers Associations. He went on to serve as the President of the Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of Weavers, 1906 to 1910, Chairman of the TUC, 1906, and its President 1908 and 1909.

A Liberal, he was elected to Darwen Town Council in 1894. Then following the agreement in 1900 to form the Labour Representative Committee he stood successfully for Clitheroe in a by-election in August 1902, becoming the third Labour Member and continued until 1910 when he became a Civil Servant, soon rising to the rank of Permanent Secretary in the newly established Ministry of Labour. He is believed to have been the first working class member to hold such a post. He subsequently received a knighthood. He was the Chairman of the Labour Party 1904 and 1905.

An active temperance worker, he was also a member of Blackburn Chamber of Commerce. Later in life his Methodist connection appears to have become nominal, although not for his wife and family, who may have attended the Primitive Methodists. He died at Lytham St. Annes on 1 August 1938.

  • Ross M. Martin, The Lancashire Giant: David Shackleton, Labour Leader and Civil Servant (2000)

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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