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Friendly and Fraternal Societies

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Curious items of peronsal adornment such as sashes and collars made of silk or velvet aprons and medals sometimes turn up in car-boot sales or are found in an attic or a shop selling bygones. Many of these objects are decorated with arcane symbols and bear inscriptions such as 'Guardian', 'Past Arch' or, even more cryptically, 'PCR' or 'KOM'. So what are these things, who wore them and what do they mean? Although often grouped under the misleading umbrella title of 'Masonic', these objects represent a vast range of friendly and fraternal orders that provided sociability, financial security and moral leadership for their members. Ranging from nationally organised orders to tiny village savings clubs, these societies were an essential part of life for the majority of people in Britain but, with a few exceptions, they have now disappeared. In this ground-breaking and richly illustrated book Victoria Solt Dennis describes the history of these orders and enables the reader to unlock this forgotten history by identifying many of these objects. This book will be of value to family historians, curators and dealers as well as to anyone who values the rich history of the oridinary people of Britain.
Product Details

Table of Contents

History of friendly and fraternal societies Friendly society artefacts Symbolism used on the artefacts of friendly and fraternal societies The Freemasons The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes The Knights of the Golden Horn The Free Gardeners The Oddfellows The Druids The Ancient Order of Foresters The Ancient Order of Loyal Shepherds The Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds The 'Friends' The temperance orders Postscript Further reading Research resources Places to visit Index

About the Author

Victoria Solt Dennis took a degree in Medieval Archaeology at University College London and worked for the Council for British Archaeology before concentrating on a career in edical education. Her main research is in the construction and evolution of dress and the ways that people create identities and meaning from it. Since 2000 she has concentrated on researching the material culture of fraternity, using the collectionsof the Library and Museum of Freemasonry as the core of this project.

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