A Proud History
Mutual, Friendly, Modern.
This desperate time saw the birth of friendly societies in the north west - small, mutual groups that were formed to help those local people who were financially vulnerable, at a time when there was no welfare state to support them. Our society was a key part of that movement, and it’s a history that we are hugely proud of.
Why? Because this history defines who we are today. We’re a mutual friendly society, formed by and for the benefit of our members. It’s how we’ve always been - and how we always will be, because we believe in doing the right thing, by our people and by our communities.
Mutual, Friendly, Modern. We believe that these words really do mean something, in any age.
Life in the early 1800s was hard. As the industrial revolution took hold we moved quickly from a nation of land owners and farmers to a nation of factory owners and mill workers. With no welfare state to help, people had to help themselves.
Out of these desperate conditions rose friendly societies. Workers’ mutual aid clubs to help financially in times of ill health or death. Many of these societies were small local associations based in local communities helping members in times of hardship. Some, like ours, grew into national organisations.
The Rechabite Friendly Society was different. It didn’t meet in the local pub like many friendly societies did. If you had to pay your penny towards your sickness fund in the back room of the local, sometimes the premiums didn’t get paid
This is Bolton Street in Salford where, in 1835, in Mrs Meadowcroft’s Temperance Hotel, the Rechabite Friendly Society was formed.
This is our first Chairman, Joseph Goode, who along with others was responsible for organising the Rechabite’s first procession on New Year’s Day 1836.
In those early days you could only take out a policy with Independent Order of Rechabites if you had signed ‘the pledge’ not to drink alcohol. Whilst anyone can now invest with the Society we still promise not to invest members’ money in alcohol industries.
In 1842 2 shillings (10p) a year could buy you £5 of life insurance and a further penny could get you half a crown (12 ½ p) of sickness benefit.
We often get asked where the name Rechabite comes from. It dates back to Old Testament times where in the book of Jeremiah the sons of Rechab, their wives, sons and daughters are commanded to drink no wine.
They were also commanded to build no houses, which helps to explain why the small groups of members who met up and down the country were called Tents. By the early 1900s there were over 4000 individual tents meeting in church vestries, village halls and even large workplaces. They would have a group meeting near you.
In 1917 the Society moved into a new head office in Parsonage Gardens, central Manchester. It also had 9 regional offices from Edinburgh to Guernsey.
The centenary of the Society was celebrated at Belle Vue Gardens in Manchester with a procession of the Directors, tableaus and a specially written play telling the story of the Society’s history. Records show that over 90,000 delegates attended the event. The event even made the Pathe News shown in cinemas.
The years after the war with the formation of the National Health Service saw a decline in membership as basic state benefits offered support to those in need. That’s why we focused on growing our range of products to include savings plans and mortgages.
It wasn’t until 2002 that we introduced the name Healthy Investment. It’s only a trading name, and whilst we now allow anyone to invest with us, we’re still Rechabite’s at heart – ethical – mutual – friendly – modern.
We often get asked about our original logo. Each of the images represents something about the Society. The two figures are peace and plenty, the rewards of temperance. The beehive, a symbol iconic to Manchester, represents industry and hard work. Back in the 1940s there was a quiz game testing members on their knowledge of the emblem and a jigsaw of it.
In 2007 the Society moved to its new offices in Bury, Greater Manchester. With most of our business now conducted by telephone and email we no longer needed to be in the middle of the city. Being just north of Manchester gives us the best of both worlds.
At the start of 2018 we looked after over £150 million of Members' money and had over 110,000 Members. We provide a range of ethical savings and investments that include ISAs, Junior ISAs, Investment Bonds and Tax Exempt Savings Plans. All ethical products from an ethical provider.