Mutual Improvement Societies

In his 1997 article, "Mutual improvement societies and the forging of working-class political consciousness in nineteenth-century England", Christopher Radcliffe of the University of Leeds provided the following summary:[1]

Unlike most mechanics' institutes, mutual improvement societies were of the people not for the people. The movement as such began in London at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and spread to the north of England around 1825. There were however earlier isolated examples. The societies were democratic and usually provided instruction by working men themselves in elementary, and sometimes in other subjects. Political discussion was also a major feature. Mutual improvement societies were set up by early nineteenth‐century radicals, by Owenites, Chartists and secularist groups. From mid‐century there were increasing numbers of nonconformist societies until by around the last quarter of the century almost every chapel in the North and the Midlands had such a group. The chapel societies seem to have been largely radical liberal in nature and by the 1890s individuals and entire societies were turning to socialism.

Unlike the various local mechanics' institutes, a number of the mutual improvements societies provided classes to women.[2]

The following are named in contemporary newspaper articles:

The Huddersfield Young Men's Mental Improvement Society (later the Huddersfield Mechanics' Institute) is sometimes referred to as the Huddersfield Mutual Improvement Society in contemporary articles.[55]

Notes and References

  1. Published in International Journal of Lifelong Education (volume 16, issue 2).
  2. For example, in their 1871 report, the Holthead Mutual Improvement Society noted that "30 males and eight females" were attending the classes.
  3. Still in existence in 1898.
  4. "Local Intelligence: Almondbury Bridge Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Jan/1852). Still in existence in 1890.
  5. Also known as the Armitage Bridge Church Mutual Improvement Society. Still in existence in 1896.
  6. Still in existence in 1896.
  7. Still in existence in 1914.
  8. Still in existence in 1895.
  9. Still in existence in 1893.
  10. "Local and District News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Mar/1863).
  11. "Golcar" in Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Mar/1865). Still in existence in 1894.
  12. Still in existence 1918.
  13. Still in existence in 1869.
  14. "Hillhouse" in Huddersfield Chronicle (05/Nov/1870). Still in existence in 1882.
  15. "Holmfirth: Annual Soiree of the Hinchliffe Mill Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Nov/1850).
  16. "Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Feb/1865). Still in existence in 1871.
  17. Still in existence in 1885.
  18. Still in existence in 1891.
  19. Originally the Huddersfield Power Loom Turners Society (formed 1861). See Historical Directory of Trade Unions: Volume 4 (2016) by Arthur Marsh & Victoria Ryan.
  20. "Kirkburton: The Temperance Cause at Rowley Hill" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Sep/1850). Still in existence in 1891.
  21. "Kirkburton" in Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Feb/1865).
  22. "Kirkheaton" in Huddersfield Chronicle (30/Aug/1884).
  23. "Local and District News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Feb/1859).
  24. "Holmfirth" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Nov/1868).
  25. Still in existence in 1914.
  26. "Lindley" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Mar/1869).
  27. "District Intelligence" in Huddersfield Chronicle (17/Jan/1891). Formed in connection with the parish church.
  28. "Local Intelligence: Lecture on Whittington and his Cat" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jan/1855). Still in existence in 1870.
  29. "Newsome" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Mar/1870).
  30. "Lockwood" in Huddersfield Chronicle (01/Apr/1871).
  31. Situated "close to the toll-bar". "Local Intelligence: Opening of a New Reading Room" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Dec/1854).
  32. "Meltham" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Oct/1869).
  33. Formed by the Rev. J. Hanson. "Formation of a Mutual Improvement Society at Milnsbridge" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Aug/1852).
  34. "Moldgreen" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Jan/1870).
  35. Still in existence in 1895.
  36. "District News: Mutual Improvement Society at New Mill" in Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Mar/1850).
  37. Still in existence in 1914, although reportedly dormant at times.
  38. "Paddock Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner (04/Mar/1854).
  39. "Local News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Apr/1867).
  40. "Local Intelligence: Ramsden Street Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Jul/1851).
  41. "Local News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Nov/1871).
  42. "Local Intelligence: Mutual Improvement Society Anniversary" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Jul/1851).
  43. Still in existence in 1890.
  44. "Local News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Dec/1866). Still in existence in 1868.
  45. "Sheepridge" in Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Sep/1867).
  46. "District News: Shelley Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Mar/1850) & (15/Mar/1850).
  47. "Slaithwaite" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Nov/1869).
  48. "District News: Holmfirth" in Huddersfield Chronicle (06/Apr/1850).
  49. "Local News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Jan/1870). Possibly also known as the South Street Primitive Methodist Mutual Improvement Society.
  50. "Thurstonland: Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Feb/1853).
  51. "Local and District News: Trinity Church Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (01/Dec/1855). Still in existence in 1859.
  52. "Local News" in Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Dec/1870). The first president was bookkeeper George W. Flemming and the society was initially named "United Press Literary and Mutual Improvement Society".
  53. "Local and District News: Holmfirth" in Huddersfield Chronicle (04/Oct/1856).
  54. "District News: Soiree of the Wooldale Mutual Improvement Society" in Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Oct/1851). Still in existence in 1853.
  55. For example, "Huddersfield Mechanics' Institute" in Bradford & Wakefield Observer (13/Aug/1846), which was written by the Institute's secretary G.S. Phillips (1815-1889).

Mutual Improvement Societies

Categories

Adult education | Mutual improvement societies | Societies and associations
This page was last modified on 28 July 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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