Subtypes Guilds - Guild Boxes - England

In England, the guilds’ mutual aid system was a constant factor in their existence, but much less developed and deep-rooted than in the Republic or the German areas. Because the English guilds rarely saved or invested, formalization of mutual aid did not occur. Mutual aid in this perspective was more like a form of charity; the provided benefits were funded with voluntary collections and inheritances, and supplemented with the proceeds of entrance fees, contributions, fines and revenues from country estates sometimes owned by the guild (which in turn had generally been gifts as well). Boxes only distributed benefits when the state of the box would allow it and a large amount of the aid was provided in kind (Bos, 1998, 299-302). At the end of the eighteenth century, new types of organizations called 'friendly societies' assumed the role of providers of mutual aid, as guilds declined in popularity. Friendly societies had the economic function of mutual aid insurance companies, but were at the same time suppliers of leisure activities and sociability (Corderly, 1995, 58; Bos, 1998, 304).



> Back to Guild Boxes