Clubs and societies have been part of life in Wrexham and across the country since the 18th century. The history of these groups features in Members Only: Wrexham’s Not So Secret Societies display in the main gallery at Wrexham Museum.
Caption: Set of the nine ‘working tools’ of a freemason, used in ceremonies by the officers of the Gredington Lodge, Ruabon [WREMA 2019.21.1]
Men and women, either separately or together, have come together to form societies to protect themselves or their community, do good work, engage in philanthropy and to enjoy each other’s company for centuries. Two hundred years ago, any kind of collective was viewed with suspicion by the state, so many groups had to keep a low profile or hide their true intentions for fear of the law. The result was that some came to be seen as ‘secret’. This display opens the door on this ‘secret’ world.
Banner, National Federation of Professional & Business Women’s Clubs, Wrexham, c. 1968 [WREMA 94.14]
The exhibition, created with the help of Wrexham Heritage volunteers and supporters includes historic objects and archives connected to:
- The Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds
- The Ancient Order of Foresters
- The Independent Order of Oddfellows
- The Freemasons
- The Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes
- The Rotary
- The National Association of Business and Professional Women
- The Soroptimists
The display has been put together with help from Mike Edwardson, Toni Robbins and Alan Jones. They have helped to choose the objects and research the collection, which has been built up thanks to donations from members of these groups locally or their descendants. Very few of the objects have been on display before and in many cases, such objects have not been publicly displayed in Wales ever.
The display is currently show in the main gallery at Wrexham Museum