Grand United Order of Oddfellows

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Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society (GUOOFS) is an odd fellows grand lodge founded in 1798 and based in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.


From the early days of Odd fellowship sprang two fraternal orders, the 'Patriotic Order' and the 'Ancient Order'. The existence of the 'Patriotic' Order has been confirmed, as a copy of the rituals revised by a meeting of the Grand Lodge held in London in 1797 has come to hand.

A fraternal order is a fraternity organised as an order, with traits alluding to religious, chivalric or pseudo-chivalric orders, guilds, or secret societies. Contemporary fraternal orders typically have secular purposes, including social, cultural and mutually beneficial or charitable aims. Many friendly societies, benefit societies and mutual organisations take the form of a fraternal order.

The first constitutional record of the Order's founding is the Bond of Union to establish 'Amicable Lodge' Sheffield. A framed copy of the Bond dated January 6th 1798 and signed by the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary on behalf of the meeting of the Grand Lodge of the United Order of Odd Fellows is held at Head Office on Talbot Road Old Trafford Manchester M16 0PL.

However, it is questionable if this really is the true date of the establishment of the Order as past publications indicate that the 'Amicable Lodge' declared independence in 1813. What records do not dispute, is the claim of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows to be the oldest Branch Friendly Society. During these early days, there were a number of disputes and disagreements between the Grand Lodge and the Branches and this led to a special meeting being held, where a number of branches splintered off to form a new Order in 1810 - now better known as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (Manchester Unity) Friendly Society.

Subsequent breakaways from the parent Order and from this new Order resulted in the formation of further Orders of Odd Fellows. In the case of the parent Order, various lodges seceded in 1832 to found the Ancient & Noble (Bolton Unity) which subsequently dissolved in 1962, and in the case of the New Order, the Nottingham Odd Fellows.

During the early part of the 19th century there were further disagreements regarding the undemocratic way Rules were made and revised without the approval of Branches, which restricted growth in membership.

Eventually, the differences were resolved and overall government became the prerogative of the biennial delegate General Meeting vested with powers to make or amend rules, and appoint a central committee (Board of Directors) with authority to administer between meetings. The General Meeting is now held annually and is known as the Annual Moveable Conference.

The importance of membership in the early days was to safeguard family interests in times of sickness and adversity, as such protection was not provided by the State at the time. However, between 1912 and 1948 the Order administered State Benefits.

Branch meetings provided the opportunity to practice debating skills and they became a training ground for members with political ambitions. They also offered the security of belonging to a fraternal organisation with Branches throughout England, enabling members to meet other members on their travels.

It has and remains the proud boast of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows that there are no artificial barriers to membership, and any member may attain the office of Grand Master or other principal position in the hierarchy of the Order.

The motto or watch words "Friendship, Love and Truth" spread abroad with travelling members and Branches were established overseas leading to the formation of Sub-Committees of Management in America, by Peter Ogden in 1843 which currently has 50 main lodges and 56 Household of Ruth lodges with nearly 1000 members in total, and also in Africa and Australia. Links Grand United Order of Oddfellows

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