Select Page

Friendly Societies

 From about 1750 onwards groups of workers all over Britain organised Friendly Societies to provide welfare cover such as unemployment and sickness insurance, burial costs, etc. Members paid in money at intervals during the year, and could apply in times of need.

Although no records for the Marnoch Friendly Society have been found, it was formed in Aberchirder no later than 1814, as this date inscription on what became the Temperance Hotel [Link to Temperance H4] shows:
The map of 1823 below shows the Friendly Society as owning the property:

This would be the property referred to in an advert published in the Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 6 March 1816:


In the Village of Abercherder, for such a number of years as
can be agreed upon; entry at Whitsunday first,

THAT HOUSE, situated on the west side of the Square, belonging to the MARNOCH FRIENDLY SOCIETY, as possessed by Ann Horn. The house consists of two large Rooms, and two Closets. There are adjoining to the house, Two smaller HOUSES, as possessed by John Wright; a large Garden, and a lot of good and convenient land; entry may be had to the lot of land to lay down the crop for the present year.

The houses are now built, and in excellent repair. A more advantageous situation for a Merchant or Vintner is seldom to be met with. The whole will be let to one tenant, or be separated, as may best suit offerers.

For further particulars, application may be made to William Allan [1], merchant in Abercherder, until the 26th day of March curt., on which day the whole will be let within the Society Hall. [2]

Not to be repeated.

Abercherder, 2d March 1816.

(Courtesy of Gene Genie Scotland)

[1] William Allan is shown on the map as being the owner of the feu on South Street where the Commercial Hotel was built. (South Street only existed from 1808 when the Banff-Huntly turnpike was completed.)

[2] It is not known where the Society Hall was, although the small building at the rear of Ferniebrae in Huntly Road is thought to have at one time been used as a hall by the Oddfellows (see below) [Link to Oddfellows below]

There is no record of when Marnoch Friendly Society gave up ownership of feu. However the earliest Valuation Roll (1877-78) shows the building as a Hall owned and occupied by James Milton of 1 Souter Street, Macduff.
In the next surviving volume (1891-92) the building is listed as the Temperance Hotel, owned by Rev. John McRaith and occupied by Alex. Gardiner, printer. Next to it is a House and Shop owned by Ann Ord, dressmaker at 62 ½ Main St. [By 1909-10 the Temperance building at 12-14 Square included a shop with Peter Grieve, printer, as tenant.]

Marnoch Deposit and Friendly Society
To add to the existing savings banks, in 1894 the Marnoch Deposit and Friendly Society was formed, an example of a community savings organisation from the days before mass bank accounts. Members deposited a small sum weekly throughout the year, with a payout in November.

The Co-op
Another approach was taken by the Rochdale Pioneers who, in 1844 opened the first cooperative shop which, as well as selling pure food at fair prices and honest weights and measures, paid a dividend on purchases. Cooperative societies spread rapidly from the 1850s onwards but a store did not open in Aberchirder until 1941!