One enquiry we receive from time to time is the request for help identifying where a memorial originally came from. This is not always as easy as it sounds. Last year we reported about a memorial found dumped on a beach in Christchurch, Dorset. The rather cryptic inscription, “To the men of this Parish…” does not not exactly aid identification of which Parish!
Recently we received a letter from a curator at Grantham Museum in Lincolnshire. She was trying to research a memorial with the following inscription.
“1914-1918 Memory of Brothers who fell in the Great War Loyal Mystery of Providence Lodge M U”
The curator’s first thought was that this was a memorial to a Freemasons group, but she had been in touch with the local branch and they had no record of a ‘Providence Lodge’. One of our volunteers then suggested that it was a memorial to the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows. The Oddfellows is an organisation that began in the late 17th Century, founded out of Medieval London trade guilds. The Manchester section was formed in 1810 as a social group and Friendly Society.
Today we received the good news that the memorial did indeed commemorate members of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and that the memorial is now going to be cleaned and put on display at their headquarters building in Manchester.