Edwin Russell, Reports in the Labourers' Union Chronicle
Edwin Russell was one of the twelve labourers on the initial Executive Council of the National Agricultural Labourers' Union in May 1872. Russell deputised in Joseph Arch's absence as chairman of the Executive Council, and in July 1872 he and Arch were described as 'the chief organising lecturers of the National Union'. He sent in much more detailed reports to the Chronicle than any of the union's other organisers, or 'delegates', and these permit the organising process to be traced in great detail. From October 1872, Russell seems to have concentrated his attentions on Herefordshire, having already briefly toured the county with Arch in June. Arch went on to become a Liberal MP, but the NALU largely fell apart in the mid-1870s and little else is known about Russell. He was listed in the 1871 census as a farm labourer living in Harbury in Warwickshire, aged 45 and born in Warwick. Interestingly, his eldest son had been born in St. Johns Wood in London, so presumably Russell was not always a farm worker. The 1881 census listed him as living in Commercial Road in Hereford, working as a 'General Dealer' and assisted by his wife and three daughters. He was also described as being a local preacher.