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Friendly Society chest with three locks, inscribed "Industry Lodge", with original painting showing Noah's Ark and an array of animals.

South Wales, early 19th century

49" wide, 24" deep, 22" high
124 cms wide, 61 cms deep, 56 cms high

Ref: 14824

Featured in: "Welsh Furniture 1250-1950"



With its lively painting of Noah and his Ark, this box is presumed to have belonged to one of the many Friendly Societies which flourished in south Wales in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

They were formed to provide their members with support during sickness and infirmity, and their regular meetings were usually held in public houses.  Some of the lodges had several thousand members, and the business transacted through fees and allowances would be considerable.  This box, which would have been left in the care of the landlord, has three locks, keys being held by the main officials, usually the Chairman and two senior Stewards.

The framed membership certificates were both owned by local members, and represent typical examples of the organisations which preceded trades unions.  The only indigenous Welsh group was the Philanthopic Order of the True Ivorites which had the promotion of the Welsh language and culture added to the usual aims of such orders.


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