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Benevolent or friendly societies were established from around the 1650s as mutual saving or insurance societies, and were successful throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Each member paid into a common fund from which they would receive funds in times of unemployment, sickness or death. With the establishment of the welfare state in the twentieth century, the need for such societies subsided, although some still exist today as financial service providers.
oil on canvas
74.5 x 100 cm
purchased by the Library and Museum Charitable Trust, 2006