Friendly Oddfellows

One of the good things about writing a blog is that you get a chance to see what search engine terms bring people to your writing.  Yesterday, for example, someone was searching for Ann Neate. I’m afraid we have no records of such a person. Maybe the Ann Neate searcher might like to get in touch and tell us more. We can respond to searches. Again, yesterday someone was looking for a history of nursing in Market Lavington and this blog post has a connection to that.

What we are looking at today is a rather unprepossessing note book.


This book at Market Lavington Museum may look a bit dull

This is an account book for the Wiltshire Friendly Society of Oddfellows. The book belonged to Alf Burbidge who was probably the treasurer.

It belonged to Alf Burbidge who lived at the house which is now Market Lavington Museum

It belonged to Alf Burbidge who lived at the house which is now Market Lavington Museum

Alf and his wife Louisa lived in our museum building and raised their two daughters there. Not surprisingly, we feel rather attached to things that belonged to the family.

One page lists committee members. It is undated but we believe it is from around 1916.


The Committee of the Wiltshire Friendly Society of Oddfellows inclusded men from Market Lavington and Easterton

Although this was called a Wiltshire society, Jacob Smith was a Market Lavington man (and someone looked at the page about him yesterday). William Smith may well have been from Market Lavington but it is a very common name. There were a couple of William Potters in Market Lavington but we’d be pretty certain that William Coleman was a local man, born in Easterton and living in Market Lavington. He served as Town Crier as well as being a boot maker and chimney sweep. We think Robert Cooper was a foreman at the brick works in market Lavington. This committee certainly had a strong Market Lavington presence.

Members seemed to take it in turns to visit the sick. These were sick visitors for the start of 1916.

People delegated to visit sick members each month

People delegated to visit sick members each month

It looks as though this friendly society did some of the caring for those who had health problems.

Other pages list pay-outs.


image012 Payouts to those in need

If we pick on James Ridout, it looks as though he may have become in need of assistance (again) in the March of 1916. Sadly he died in the April and his family received a payout. This, of course, was care in the form of cash rather than actual nursing help, but hopefully during March and April he was visited by Messrs Sainsbury, Sheppard and Ellis.

Nursing care at this time was very much a charitable business for there was no National health Service until 1948. But maybe these members of a friendly society got help from one another.

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