Friendly Societies Medical Institute, Broad Street, Northampton.

Frequently missed as it stands alone on the side of the dual carriageway and covered in vine is the Friendly Societies Medical Institute. At a meeting of the town’s Friendly Societies in 1872, it was decided that a Friendly Societies Medical Institute should be established, and a committee made up of representatives of all the societies was formed. Premises were taken in St. Giles Street and a medical officer appointed. That summer the United Friendly Societies held a demonstration and fête to promote and raise funds for the new Institute. All eight courts of Foresters, two ‘habitations’ of Free Gardeners and five other clubs, one of which was the Amalgamated Tailors Union, were all involved. A procession assembled at the Corn Exchange, walked round the town with bands and banners to the Castle Grounds, where the fête took place. The Institute’s second annual report showed that 19 societies supported the Institute, and it had 1,632 male members, together with 575 wives, 1,198 children and 39 ‘other relatives’ (a total of 3,445). In 1883 the Institute opened the Broad Street Dispensary, followed by another one in Colwyn Road to serve the East side of the town. By the 1880s the Institute was the largest Medical Association in the country. At its height in 1897 there were 39 societies and 15,960 members.

Friendly Societies Medical Institute - Illustration

Friendly Societies Medical Institute – Broad Street, Northampton


Mike Ingram MA, Historian, Author, and Freeman of the ancient borough of Northampton

Want to know more? Then please read Mike Ingram’s book, Northampton: 5,000 years of history.


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