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National Independent Order of the Oddfellows Friendly Society
National Independent Order of the Oddfellows Friendly Society
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This collection contains the papers of the National Independent Order of the Oddfellows Friendly Society. The collection includes papers from the Head Office Unit of the NIOOFS together with 16 district branches. The papers have been arranged into sections by branch name. Each branch has then be subdivided into four sections which include 'Executive', 'Secretarial', 'Financial' and 'Membership'. These sections were created in order to preserve the orginal order of the material and reflect the activities or the organisation. The Head Office Unit is the largest section of the collection but the branches of Pendleton and Charlestown, Loyal Plough Boy, Loyal Pelham and Loyal St. Ternan contain the largest volume of material from the district branches. All lodge members are referred to as either a 'brother' or a 'sister' of the Order. Each lodge has a Secretary, a Trustee, a Chairman, a Grand Master and a Representative of the Order. These titles were given to official members who dealt with the administration of lodge affairs and who could be appointed by vote from other lodge members. Some sub-sections do not at present hold any information relating to a particular branch. A record has been created in order that information can be added to the collection if the GMCRO should acquire it from the NIOOFS at a later date.Related Material:Rules of the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society, 1910 (G.ODD/Addnl)
National Independent Order of the Oddfellows Friendly Society
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The National Independent Order of the Oddfellows Friendly Society (NIOOFS), now known as the National Independent Oddfellows Friendly Society, was founded in 1845 after a break with the Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) Friendly Society. The society was principally created after disputes with the Grand United Order and the Manchester Unity Order which attempted to implement changes to the order in the early 1840s. These included being more selective in which district representatives should attend committee meetings and a call for closer overseeing of annual statements of affairs from individual lodges, changes which were seen to infringe on their members' liberties. Friendly societies are non-profit mutual organisations, owned by their members. Prior to the Welfare State, Trade Unions or the National Health Service, friendly societes were often the only way a working person had to receive help in times of ill health, or old age. The NIOOFS was designed to offer care and protection to its members when they needed it. The Oddfellows were among the first of the many friendly societies to begin to bring independent lodges into affiliation. Lodges sometimes transferred between orders, seeking the best possible deal for their members. In some places a short-lived lodge affiliated to one order was succeeded by another owing allegiance to a completely different one. Lodges were independent but collaborated such that a common secretary was appointed in 1816 and a collective funeral fund established. Growth was rapid such that by 1832 there were 561 lodges with a total membership of 31,042. It grew to be the largest such society in the UK. The role of Friendly Societies became acknowledged by the Government and membership was encouraged. The Friendly Societies Act of 1875 called for a system of auditing and registration. The National Independent Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society grew in strength as statutory benefits became established. People joined Friendly Societies in large numbers and they could be found in small villages and large towns alike. By the late 1800's there were around 27,000 registered Friendly Societies. The most widely encountered symbol of the IOOF (on signage and gravemarkers) is the three-link chain ('the Chain With Three Links', the 'Triple Links') with three initials, 'F', 'L' and 'T', one each inside each link, signifying Friendship, Love and Truth. Surviving documents usually make clear the affiliation of a lodge, as do pieces of regalia - the jewels, sashes, aprons and other artefacts that the members wore in meetings and on public occasions. Differences in detail on coats of arms and other symbols provide helpful information. Early indications are that the NIOOFS decided to dissolve late in 2009. It has been located in Swinton, Manchester until this time. By 1877 there were around 92 branches in the NIOOFS. It had the strongest numerical following in the Lothians in the early part of the 20th century, with 13 lodges in Edinburgh and District by 1900. Nine were still functioning in 1960. In East Lothian, Lodge Loyal Pride of East Lothian, No 1057, subsumed all other local Oddfellow lodges on its formation after 1911. The NIOOFS organised the annual general meetings, including Annual Moveable Conference (AMC 1877 to 1956) and the Executive Committee Meetings which were held four times a year. Nowadays there are approximately 200 Friendly Societies. Many have remained locally based, while others have grown into national organisations.
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