Sheet Metal History – Centuries of Craftmanship

The history and development of the sheet metal industry owes much to this legacy of the craftsmanship and trade union commitment of generations of British coppersmiths, braziers and tin plate workers. The roots of the trade and of the organization of craftsmen are to be found more than five centuries ago.

The last half of the 19th century saw the dream of a national union become a reality. The formation of the General Tramping Union of Tin Plate Workers’ in 1861, followed by the formation of the Amalgamated Tin Plate Workers’ of Birmingham and Wolverhampton led eventually into a merger as the National Amalgamated Tin Plate Workers’ in 1900.


Later, as the organization embraced other, smaller trade groups, it became known as the National Union of Sheet Metal Workers’, Coppersmiths, Heating and Domestic Engineers. In 1983 the union ceased to exist as a separate entity and became the craft section of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers’ (Technical and Supervisory Section).