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About The Museum

A word from the Curator...
Forester Heritage Trust (FHT) is an independent charity established to look  after the many item that tell the story of our order and other Friendly Societies.  We have recently relocated  to new premises at Tunstall,
Stoke-on-Trent in the heart of the 'Potteries' country, the collection having previous been housed in Southampton.  The focus of the museum is Foresters history with attention also paid to Friendly Societies in general, family history and local history. 


Peter Nixon

Our Purpose

The Foresters Heritage Trust aims to:


  • provide education in the history of the friendly society movement.

  • develop a wider knowledge of the history of the friendly society movement

  • extend the understanding of the role of the friendly society movement by the population at large

  • provide a fully accessible research enquiry service, website, and museum and archive.

Our History

All organisations have their individual story. Friendly societies are no different. Indeed, as they have been important in the lives of ordinary working men and women since the early 19th century, they have many stories to tell. In its long history the Ancient Order of Foresters (Foresters Friendly Society) has had many members with an interest in recording its story and bringing it to life.

The Foresters Heritage Trust was established in 2005 as a charitable organisation which aims to stimulate interest in friendly societies and their caring and colourful culture in general and the Ancient Order of Foresters in particular. The Trust is a voluntary independent registered charity, governed by a board of Trustees, and is based in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, England.

Our first permanent, publicly accessible Museum & Archive was formally opened at the Foresters’ Head Office in Southampton in August 2007. The collection was moved to Tunstall in 2016 and the new museum opened in 2018. We are immensely grateful to Foresters Friendly Society for their ongoing support and to the Courts of the Society for their financial assistance.

This website enables you to preview some of the items in the Museum and get an indication of what the Archive contains. It also provides information about our research enquiry service which has already helped many family and local community historians.

The Trustees would be happy to receive donations of friendly society related material at any time. We also have an acquisitions fund that will allow us to obtain relevant, interesting items that may become available for sale.

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