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Bloomsbury Institutions


National Union of Teachers

Also known as National Union of Elementary Teachers


It was founded in 1870 at King’s College, London, as the National Union of Elementary Teachers, to represent teachers across the country

It changed its name to the National Union of Teachers in 1889

When the Teachers’ Registration Council was established in 1900, the National Union of Teachers was one of the three Bloomsbury-based bodies of the six who could appoint members to this council, the others being the College of Preceptors and the Teachers’ Guild (Richard Willis, The Struggle for the National Teaching Council, 2005)

It is the largest and most successful of the teachers’ unions in England and Wales, although it would prefer to be the only one

It continues to campaign for educational standards and the best possible working conditions for its members

What was reforming about it?

It was a union formed to protect the rights of its members; at the same time, it campaigned for professional standards across the country

Where in Bloomsbury

Its first headquarters were at Adam Street, Adelphi, from 1873, but it moved to “Bolton House”, Russell Square, in 1889

This address, later given as “67 and 71 Russell Square”, apparently comprised the northern part of the extended Bolton House and the rebuilt eastern extension to its rear formerly known as Bolton Gardens

The development of the two gargantuan hotels in Russell Square led to the demolition of Bolton House in 1913–1914 (Eileen Harris, ‘Robert Adam on Park Avenue: The Interiors for Bolton House,’ Burlington Magazine, vol. 137, no. 1103, February 1995), and the NUT was forced to build its own massive headquarters a few blocks to the northeast, Hamilton House on Mabledon Place, opened in 1915; it is still there

Website of current institution

www.teachers.org.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Ruth Van Camp, “The National Union of Teachers in England: Its History and Present Status, ” unpublished doctoral dissertation, 1935 [BL Wq5/1764]

Richard Bourne and Brian MacArthur, The Struggle for Education, 1870–1970: A Pictorial History of Popular Education and the National Union of Teachers (1970)


Its archives are held at the Modern Records Centre of Warwick University, ref. MSS.179, 553, 565, 608; details are available via Warwick University’s website (opens in new window)

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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