A Glorious History
Whilst the industrial revolution of the late 1700s made Britain the workshop of the world it brought slums, poverty and ill-health to many of the north-west's factory workers.
By 1833, despite average wages rising to around 46 pence per week, the lack of any welfare state or health care provision exacerbated problems for those who needed it most.
From these appalling social conditions arose friendly societies, groups of individuals committed to supporting each other in times of sickness or death. Through small regular financial contributions, help could be offered to members in need.
The poor social conditions of the day were not helped by the availability of cheap, poor quality alcohol from the public houses in which many of these new friendly societies held their meetings and conducted their business.
On 25 August 1835 a small group of men, already committed to total abstinence from alcohol, met in Mrs Meadowcroft’s Temperance Hotel, Bolton Street, Salford in order to discuss a friendly society for those who had ‘signed the pledge’.
The name Independent Order of Rechabites comes from the biblical story in Jeremiah 35 verses 7 and 8 when the sons of Rechab are commanded to drink no wine.
From its first procession on New Year’s day in 1836 the organisation grew rapidly with local groups known as ‘tents’ being formed throughout the country.
In 1842 contributions of 2 shillings per year for the under 35s entitled you to £5 death benefit and a further penny a week provided you with a sickness benefit of half a crown (12 1/2p).
From these humble beginnings grew an organisation that would provide low cost funeral benefits, affordable sickness insurance and regular savings plans to many thousands of members throughout the country, for over 175 years.
In 1999 the Society, by now known as the Rechabite Friendly Society, modernised and centralised its various local groups and regions into one Manchester based Head Office. In 2004 the Society developed further and opened its membership to include temperate members or those who enjoy alcohol in moderation.
Trading since 2004 under the name Healthy Investment, today the Society is a modern, growing, financial services organisation committed to providing ethical savings and investment products.