A LODGE of Freemasons is held at the Town Hall, Mansfield, eight months in the year. It was founded in 1879, is numbered 1852 on the Grand Lodge Registry of England, and is known as the "Forest Lodge." It includes amongst its members and past officers most of the leading tradesmen of the town. Numerically, it is a strong lodge. Several of its members have attained to Provincial Grand Lodge honours.


There are lodges of all the leading Friendly Societies in the country at Mansfield, most of them being strong both in funds and membership. In addition to these, a number of independent societies exist, which are likewise in a flourishing condition. Many of the Trades' Societies have lodges in the town, and there is a strong branch of the Derbyshire Miners' Association. Not having a hall devoted to friendly societies' work, the lodge meetings are held at public-houses.


In the year 1870, a Building Society was established, and, through its instrumentality, building has been encouraged amongst the working classes to such an extent that many of them are to-day the owners of their own houses. The business of the society is conducted at the Mechanics' Institute. At present there are about 350 members, and the monthly subscriptions amount to £450. The society has a branch at Sutton-in-Ashfield.


The Mansfield Horticultural Society was established in 1876, since which time it has been doing a good work amongst the working classes of the town and district by means of its annual exhibition, usually held on August Bank Holiday. Meetings are held at the Mechanics' Institute every month, when papers on horticultural subjects are read and small exhibitions of garden produce held. The payment of an annual contribution of one shilling constitutes membership.


In addition to the foregoing, there is also a very strong Poultry Society in the town, the object of which is to encourage the breeding of good varieties of fowls, ducks, pigeons, geese, rabbits, &c, and great benefit has resulted from its work. Meetings are held monthly, when interesting papers are read by prominent breeders and others. Small exhibitions are held at the same time, and often natural curiosities are shown. The society has an annual exhibition about Christmas time. There is also an Ornithological Society in the town to encourage the keeping and training of canaries and other feathered songsters, both British and foreign. This society has a show each year, usually held at one of the licensed houses.


A Harmonic Society has existed for many years in Mansfield. Formerly, the meetings were held at the Nag's Head Hotel; but the society becoming defunct, a new one was formed, with Mr. A. H. Bonser as conductor, and this society meets weekly, from about Michaelmas to Whitsuntide, in the St. John's Schools. Performances are given during the season in conjunction with the Sutton Harmonic Society.


In connection with St. Peter's and St. John's Church is a Blanket Society, which, during the winter months, lends out about two hundred blankets amongst the poorer of the inhabitants. The distribution usually takes place about November in St. John's School, and the blankets are returnable in the following May. The benefactions of this society are heartily appreciated. The society is managed by a very strong committee.


There is a strong Angling Association in the town, to whom is granted the privilege of fishing in the King's Mill Reservoir. Tickets for fishing here may always be had from the members during the months of July, August, and September. Other waters in the neighbourhood are strictly preserved by the owners, though permission is, as a rule, easily obtained by well-known residents for a day's fishing. The fish principally caught are trout, roach, perch, and jack. There is an excellent trout stream a few miles from the town, but no fishing is allowed.


There are two political clubs in Mansfield, both in Westgate. The one is where those professing Conservative views most do congregate; the other is devoted to the spread of Liberal and Radical opinions. Both have good membership rolls, and provide various amusements. The Conservative Club provides alcoholic beverages for its members, while the Liberal Club is conducted on temperance principles.