friendly society

Aka mutual society, benevolent society, fraternal organisation. A non-government mutual beneficial association for the non-profit purpose of insurance with regards to unemployment benefits, pensions, health, etc, with membership often according to trade, religious or political affiliations, and very often also maintaining a social function. Very popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries but with the advent of the welfare state many have closed or evolved into credit unions or mutual insurance companies.