Papers relating to the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Lodge Contribution Books 1877-1885; Rule-book: Cambrian Lodge 1891; Quarterly Reports: Oddfellow Directorate 1881 and 1884; Annual Report: Oddfellow Directorate 1885; Degree Book: Order of Good Templars 1873; account book of Amelia Lake of No. 174 High street, detailing goods bought and sold, shop takings etc. c1876-1883; list of summons by Swansea School Board for non-attendance (J. Lake, complainant) 1890; specification of alterations to Betheseda Baptist Chapel and for taking down and rebuilding school and classrooms, from plans prepared by B. Williams c1890; bundle of miscellaneous school books and weekly periodicals (some items marked with the names of Henrietta Lake and John Lake Bevan) c1890.

Administrative / Biographical History

Loyal Cambrian Lodge was a branch of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity Friendly Society. Its registered office was the Oddfellows' Hall, 217 High Street, Swansea. The object of the Lodge was to raise funds by fees, member subscriptions, fines, donations and by interest on capital for the benefit of its members in certain circumstances. The money was used to help with the expenses of burial of deceased members, their wives and widows of deceased members; to give assistance to sick members unable to work due to illness or infirmity; to supply medical attendance and medicine to members compelled to travel in search of employment; to grant temporary help to members in distressed circumstances and to give temporary assistance to the widows and orphans of deceased members. Friendly societies with their underlying objective of 'self-help' began to grow in size and importance during the nineteenth century.

One of the best known of these societies during this period was the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. The Oddfellows called their local societies lodges and the first Oddfellow lodge to be established was the Abercrombie Lodge in Manchester c1810. By 1820 the order was spreading to other areas of Britain and in Wales the Oddfellows later became particularly strong in Glamorgan. Various break-off Oddfellow orders began to appear from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. The Manchester Unity was governed by a Grand Committee until 1827 but it was elected by lodges in the Manchester area only. This caused problems with lodges in other regions and in 1827 the Unity started to be governed by a Board of Directors elected by an Annual Moveable Committee composed of members from all districts.

This archive includes papers concerning the Loyal Cambrian Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity, in Swansea, together with related papers.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all researchers by appointment. Please note that somecollections contain sensitive information and access may be restricted.

Geographical Names