Order of Oddfellows ceremonial apron

This silk apron was used by the Wigtown lodge of the Manchester Order of Oddfellows. The Oddfellows was a friendly society, a type of mutual benefit savings organisation. Members paid a subscription into a general fund and were able to claim sickness and burial costs. The society also acted as a social club. There are a number of symbols on this apron. The heart on an open hand signifies friendship, the globe is universal benevolence, the hour glass is truth, the crossed keys are security and the lamb and flag represent faith. The shields carry the arms of Great Britain and Manchester. The Oddfellows was the largest and most popular friendly society in south-west Scotland. By the early 20th century friendly societies were part of the social fabric of south-west Scotland. Many towns had one or more lodge halls and society events and parades were the high points in a community’s calendar.
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