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Friendly society ribbons and collars

If a friendly society adopted sashes and aprons for its membership, it often then used neck-ribbons or collars to indicate officers. By the end of the 19th century ribbons had become very colourful. Frequently they bore machine embroidered heraldic panels and the name or initials of an officer's position. The images below are just some of the ribbons and collars that survive in collections across the Lothians and Fife, representing just a few of the hundreds of organisations and thousands of individuals that invested in these articles.

 A Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds collar made by Tutill of London      Neck ribbon or collar for an Outside Steward in the British Order of Ancient Free Gardeners      Chief Ranger and Vice Chief Ranger collars, courtesy of the Independent Order of Foresters, Court Scotia, No. 2861

Identifying the organisation underlying a ribbon can be difficult. Often the heraldic pattern is a clue. If it is not present the colour, the presence or absence of stripes, tassels and lettering all help to lead to the correct answer.

 A collar used by the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, Honestas Lodge, No. 1838      Trustee and Senior Woodward collars, Ancient order of Foresters      A collar used by the Independent Order of Rechabites (Salford Unity), Sir William St Clair Tent, No. 1887

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