From the age of 12, Arthur Henderson worked in a locomotive factory and foundry. In 1884 he lost his job and began his trade union activity.

Henderson was the first Labour leader to simultaneously become minister (in 1915). When the Labour Party formed its first government in 1924, Henderson became Home Secretary, and in the subsequent government was appointed Foreign Secretary.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his activities at the time when he chaired the Geneva Disarmament Conference.