As a result of George Cadbury’s sweated industries exhibition, a powerful all-party pressure group, the National Anti-Sweating League, was set up, dedicated to ending low pay and establishing a minimum wage. Its influential members included Mary Macarthur, George Cadbury, and historian and Christian socialist R. H. Tawney. The League’s secretary was J. J. Mallon, later to be a trustee of the Cradley Heath Workers’ Institute. The League carried on the work that the Daily News had begun by organising more large-scale exhibitions in Liverpool, Leicester, Bristol, Ilford, Oxford and elsewhere. The Manchester exhibition ran for three weeks. In Birmingham, it ran for ten.
The League played an important role in exposing the sweated trades and converting the public to the idea of a minimum wage. In October 1906, it convened a conference of trade unionists at the Guildhall, London. It was to last two days, but such was the public interest that it was extended to three. The 341 delegates, representing two million organised workers, agreed that voluntary consumers’ leagues in Britain and America, designed to dissuade people from buying the products of sweated labour, had achieved little. Legislative action was the only answer. The conference gave the minimum wage campaign the widespread support it needed to turn principle into practical politics.