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How the trust began...


It all began........ Friendly Societies 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 building on the work of Walter Cooper, Audrey Fisk and Dr Roger Logan. Its aim was 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.

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