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William Adamson (1863-1936), Politician, Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party and Secretary of State for Scotland

Sitter in 14 portraits
The son of a coalminer, William Adamson was born in Dunfermline. He himself spent twenty-seven years from the age of eleven working in the mining industry. He joined the National Union of Mineworkers, first as a branch delegate, and rising through the ranks to become General Secretary by 1908. Adamson was elected to Parliament as a Labour Party MP in 1910. In 1917 he was elevated to the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Labour Party; he held this post until being replaced by J. R. Clynes in 1921. Throughout the 1920s Adamson remained a senior figure within the Parliamentary Labour Party. He headed the Scottish Office in both the 1924 and the 1929 governments until losing his seat in the 1931 election.