Oddfellows, south London Lodges

Scope and Content

The records reveal most aspects of the day to day workings of a number of south east London lodges, most particularly in Clapham and Camberwell. Broadly the administrative records show through the (general) minutes the overall governance of a particular lodge and the lodge night minutes their weekly meetings with payments made to individual members; the membership records give names, and contributions; the financial records the income and expenditure, including on members' benefits and the investment registers show income from investments, such as shares, rental from (mainly residential ) property and from mortgage loans on residential property. They are particularly useful as a local example of the detailed workings of a friendly society, showing members' contributions and the nature of the benefits they received.

Administrative / Biographical History

Oddfellows are one of the oldest and largest friendly societies the country. Friendly societies are non-profit organisations owned by their members. The concept or a friendly or mutual society, to protect member's interests in times of sickness or unemployment, grew from the medieval trade guilds. The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows was formed in 1810 and now is the national body to which local lodges affiliate. Local groups are organised into lodges; members wear regalia and there are strong ceremonial and social aspects to their activities. Before the introduction of National Insurance (from 1911) friendly societies were one of the most important ways workers could guard against hardship. The Pride of Clapham ,Lord Byron and Bermondsey lodges still meet, but others are now closed or amalgamated.


The catalogue is structured as follows:

By lodge name - so:

/1 Pride of Clapham

/2 Hugh Boswell

/3 Walworth

/4 Past Grands

/5 Pride of Camberwell

/6 Loyal Caledonian

/7 Lorne

/8 South West Group

/9 South London District

/10 Loyal Europa

/11 Loyal Albert

/12 Loyal Orphans

/13 Loyal travellers rest

/14 Loyal Good Intent

/15 Pride of Bermondsey

/16 Loyal Raglan

/17 personal papers

/18 objects

/19 items and objects where the lodge cannot be identified, or which relate to more than one lodge

The lodge records are then subdivided

/1 Administration

1/1 Minutes

1/2 Annual reports

1/3 Correspondence

1/4 Journals and newsletters

/2 membership

/3 finance

/4 publications

/5 others

Access Information

Because the records contain data that can identify individuals, and because some of the data could be considered sensitive, as it indicates financial benefits being given and the health or welfare circumstances prompting the member's claim for a benefit, some of these records must be considered as being closed under the data Protection Act of 1998. Any item will remain closed until it is reasonable to assume any people mentioned in it are no longer living. The records in question include lodge night minutes and contribution books financial records.

Acquisition Information

These records were deposited by the Pride of Clapham Lodge, Oddfellows in November 2001. Accession 2001/13.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy of the catalogue is available at Lambeth Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

The records are a gift and so reproduction is subject to normal office rules ie:

That the material can be copied without being physically damaged That all relevant fees are paid That permission for any further reproduction lies with Lambeth Archives

Custodial History

The records include more than those of Clapham Lodge, but it is not known how they came into the possession of this lodge.