The meeting was opened by Chairman Roger Bancroft who reported six apologies had been received. Nine/ten members had attended Honorary Life Member George Mountford’s Thanksgiving service in Harrogate yesterday.
Today’s speaker was the Forum’s Secretary Neil Ramshaw whose topic “The Rise and Fall of a Very British Institution” related to the Building Society Movement. The speech covered the history of the organization in the United Kingdom from its inception in the late 18th and 19th centuries with its genesis in the days of the Industrial Revolution and initially very much modelled on established Friendly Societies. Its growth particularly in the industrial heartlands of West Yorkshire was commented upon and its steady and low key progress through the 20th century and two World Wars to the leading world position of its type up to 1986 was covered. The impact of legislation and noticeably the 1986 Building Societies Act was looked at and it was noted how quickly the Movement has declined since that time where today it is a small remaining rump dominated by the Nationwide. Some problems and scandals were examined from over the years and some pen notes of key individuals covered where they had a significant impact in their time. The overall conclusion was what had been a tremendous British success story of over 150 years had sadly been lost in a very short period following the 1986 Act with evolution having been replaced by revolution and its adverse consequences.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Mr Michael Cochrane on behalf of the 27 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY