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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4254
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1840-1990
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 6.2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): The Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) | North London Division
The Manchester Unity Order of Odd Fellows


Administrative/Biographical history:

The year 1810 is regarded as that in which the Independent Order was established. It grew out of the Grand United Order or London order whose headquarters were at the Bohemia Tavern in Wych Street. The United Order itself was formed about 1779 by the partial amalgamation of two earlier Orders: the 'Ancient' and the 'Patriotic'. These earlier Orders were both convivial and political, and were also benevolent in that financial assistance was given to the poor. On the merger of these two Orders, the benevolence aspect became the principal aim of the brethren.

The most useful benefit was the 'travelling relief'. This was afforded to members travelling in search of employment and was calculated on the cost of providing bed and board on a daily basis. A member obtained a travelling card and a password and could use these to obtain a bed at any Lodge in any Town were he intended to spend the night, and was assisted by a monetary payment sufficient to provide bed and board for the next 24 hours.

The title Independent Order of Odd Fellows Manchester Unity Friendly Society was adopted from the Order set up in Manchester in 1810 by members of the Union Order who were 'Independent' because they had left the Union Order. The Order is also known as The Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) or The Manchester Unity Order of Odd Fellows.

The Odd Fellows are one of the largest friendly societies in Great Britain and their motto is 'Friendship, Love and Truth'. They are a non-profit making Friendly Society who offer benefits including health insurance, life assurance, annuities and endowments.

The society is 190 years old, and the North London Division is over 160 years old.

Many of the Lodges have now been amalgamated and this is in part reflected in the catalogue, most noticeably in the Trafalgar Lodge which, since 1992, is made up of Duke of Sussex Lodge, King Edward Lodge Union Lodge, Rose of York Lodge and Prince Albert Lodge; and also incorporating Pioneer Lodge, which consisted of Sir Thomas Dallas Lodge, Prince of Wales and Chandos Lodges, and Queen Victoria and Blenheim Lodges.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the North London Division of the Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity); including administrative records such as minutes of the District Committee, circulars and correspondence and printed material and the records of the North London Darts Association dating from 1914-1987. Also records relating to lodges. This is the main series of records and contains minutes, valuation and Annual Returns, membership records including nomination forms and declaration books, Lodge rules annual statements and balance sheets and Ledgers and investment books.

The Lodges covered and the dates are:
Adelaide and Sir William Wallace 1916-1989;
Countess of Darlington 1881-1973;
Craven 1970-1980;
Duke of Cornwall and Highams Park 1902-1987;
Hand-in-Hand and Saint Catherine's and Britons Pride 1983-1989;
Intermediate 1966-1970;
King Edward 1841-1850;
Pride of Islington 1908-1988;
Prince Albert 1840-1988;
Robert Dansie 1965-1988;
Rock of Hope 1936-1972;
Royal Oak 1951-1988;
Saint Martin 1841-1962;
Saint Pancras 1921-1960;
Sir John Lawrence 1872-1989;
Trafalgar (see history for constituent Lodges) 1903-1990.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4254/A: Central Administration; LMA/4254/B: Lodges.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records of the North London Division were given as a gift to the London Metropolitan Archives in March 2000.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

See the Oddfellows website at for more information.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June to August 2010.

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