This handbook was created "for the guidance of the secretaries and travellers of the Friendly Society of Iron-Moulders" in 1846.
Before the creation of the welfare state trade unions provided a basic benefits system for working people. The handbook gives information about welfare provision given to members of the union who were travelling to find work, including payments for mileage travelled, a bed for the night and food.
At the heart of the industrial revolution, the ironmoulders were early adopters of trade unionism. The Friendly Iron Moulders' Society was established in 1809. In 1837 it held its first delegate conference in Manchester and changed its title to the Friendly Society of Operative Iron Moulders of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (the name would be altered again in 1846 and 1855). In 1920 it amalgamated with the Amalgamated Society of Coremakers of Great Britain and Ireland and the Associated Iron Moulders of Scotland to form the National Union of Foundry Workers.
The document is included in the archives of the Friendly Society of Iron Founders of England, Ireland & Wales, one of several collections of iron and steel trade union archives held at the Modern Records Centre, and can be read in full through our online catalogue.