Home Site Map Back

Friendly Societies.

Societies having for their object the mutual relief of members in sickness and old age, interment at death, maintenance and endowment of widows and children of deceased members, etc., commonly known as "friendly societies," have received the benefit of considerable legislation, and a variety of statues from 33 George III, c. 54 down to 23 and 24 Victoria, c. 58, have been passed for their aid, control, and efficiency; none are legally constituted or recognized by law as existing, unless their rules are registered or deposited under the act with the registrar; they are required, every five years, to make returns of the rate of sickness and mortality experience by the society amongst its members, state of funds, mode of investment, and many other details, with a view of securing a healthy control of this most important system of social economy and domestic comfort, correcting the calculations, where necessary, and adding to their security and permanency.

There would appear to be the following number of friendly societies in the city of London, and the metropolitan counties of Middlesex and Surrey,—all we have immediately to do with : —Middlesex, 2,053; Surrey, 704.* We believe that at the present time, scarcely a trade or profession, a community of labourers, artizans, and mechanics of any kind, is without some social regulations or organized fund, for the purposes here named. A report of many of these will form the contents of the succeeding chapter, after the benevolent pension societies : such being omitted as from their limited operations, private character, present no features of special interest.

*Total in England and Wales, 23,000.

SOURCE: The Charities of London, by Samuel Low, Jun., London: Sampson Low, Son,
and Marston, Milton House, Ludgate Hill. 1861.