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Extra resources for An Introduction to the Voluntary Sector
It was estimated that there were perhaps 250 societies in existence in 1825 but the real period of growth was from the 1840s. It was from this period that the societies began to become permanent, and their nature began to change. They became less controlled by their members and were taken over by middle-class professionals, although some working-class terminating societies continued to exist as late as the 1870s. By 1875 the building societies had become virtually commercialised THE VOLUNTARY TRADITION 31 undertakings and can no longer be included in our analysis of self-help (see, for example, Johnson 1985).
One of the claims made was that, with the ban on trade unions under the 32 AN INTRODUCTION TO THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR Combination Acts of 1799, unions were organising themselves under the guise of friendly societies, and certainly there was a great deal of overlap between the functions and structures of the early trade unions and the local and trade friendly societies. In 1833 a group of agricultural labourers in Tolpuddle were prosecuted for forming an association under the name of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers.
The extent of the partnership between the voluntary sector and the state during the inter-war years is open to question, at least at national governmental level. As Macadam points out, there is little evidence of government policy to stimulate the sector during this period, although the 1929 Local Government Act required local authorities to consult with voluntary hospitals in the planning of services. At local authority level attempts were made to coordinate the activities of the public and voluntary services.