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Description

Sash which belonged to a member of the Order of Druids 'Llewelyn Lodge', one of a number of Friendly Societies which existed in Wales from the late 18th century. It is known that the Order of Druids 'Llewelyn Lodge' met in Welshpool.

Since the middle of the 18th century the situation for poor people was close to desperate with low wages, hunger, bad health and high prices. To fight this poverty, people in England and Wales set up Friendly Societies. Their aim was to help the poor in cases of illness and death.

Each member would pay a monthly fee, the money would accumulate and be paid out to members in need. A specified sum would be given to a worker who was unable to work because of illness or to a family, who had problems surviving the death of a husband. The Friendly Societies would also pay pensions to retired workers and travelling relief, for workers seeking jobs outside their home areas.

There were very strict rules as to who could benefit from the Societies, the most important being a pledge of non-drinking. Initially, the Friendly
Societies were illegal, and in order to counteract this many Friendly Societies used special passwords and secret signs. The Societies were legalised in the late 19th century and some are still in existence today, working more or less as insurance companies and building societies, helping their members with sickness benefit, insurances and mortgages.

Description: Powysland Museum and Montgomery Canal Centre

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