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The Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners was formed in 1870. It was a union for male mule spinners in Lancashiremarker, in Great Britain. There had been previous attempts at forming a union for spinners. There had been the Manchester Spinners Union and the Grand General Union of Operative Spinners of the United Kingdom formed in 1828, by John Doherty. It only lasted two years. In 1845 a group of spinners in Boltonmarker who created the Association of Operative Cotton Spinners; it failed. There was also the Friendly Association of Hand Mule Spinners, which was formed in Prestonmarker in 1852.

By 1910, almost 100% of male mule spinners were members. Its membership numbered 22000. It had established mule spinners as the barefoot aristocrats of cotton. Female ring spinners were represented by the expansionist Cardroom Worker's Amalgamation. The powerloom weavers were represented by the Amalgamated Weavers Association who had 114000 members.

The Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners had a federal structure with strong central leadership where control was in the hands of a small group of paid officials. Their dues were high, so the fighting fund was large and the officials were skilled in defending the complex wage structures.


  1. Spartacus
  2. The limits of trade union militancy By Joseph L. White, Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1978, ISBN 0313200297, page=78


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