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Friendly Society Collection

"150 Years of Camaraderie and Solidarity: The Legacy of Friendly Societies" Step back in time to the year 1834

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"150 Years of Camaraderie and Solidarity: The Legacy of Friendly Societies" Step back in time to the year 1834, when posters warning against illegal oaths brought forth a wave of change. Those found guilty faced deportation, marking a pivotal moment in history. Fast forward to 1934, as we reflect on this significant milestone that shaped the concept of friendly societies. One such society was the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, whose certificate of endowment from October 15, 1908 stands as a testament to their commitment. With values rooted in temperance, fortitude, and justice, the Rechabites emerged in 1849 as advocates for sobriety and righteousness. The Independent Order of Rechabites continued this noble cause with their vibrant lithographs capturing their dedication. Meanwhile, the Tolpuddle Martyrs became symbols of resilience and sacrifice during these transformative times. A contemporary impression from 1838 transports us back to witness their struggle for justice. Inscribed letters penned by the wives of these brave martyrs reveal not only their anguish but also their unwavering determination to fight for what is right. Follow the route they marched upon in protest during that fateful year - an act that would forever etch them into history's annals. George Loveless endured unimaginable hardships while being transported from Dorchester to prison; his chains serving as haunting reminders of oppression faced by those who dared challenge societal norms. Today, at Tolpuddle Methodist Chapel stands a memorial honoring these courageous individuals who paved the way for workers' rights. Friendly societies were not limited solely to men; women played an integral role too. The office holders' certificate belonging to Manchester Unity Friendly Society's Female Lodge showcases how unity transcends gender boundaries even in 1929. As we delve deeper into history's tapestry woven by friendly societies since its inception over a century ago, we witness the power of collective action.