The first meeting of musicians, which fundamentally led to the founding of the Musicians’ Union, took place in Manchester this day in 1893. Joseph Williams was a clarinettist in a theatre-based orchestra when he started organising musicians as a result of poor pay and working conditions. His drive to form a union – one that would be protective – particularly against ‘unscrupulous employers, amateurs and ourselves’, attracted just twenty musicians to the first meeting, but the idea quickly took off in various cities and by the year’s end he had launched the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union with over 1,000 members.