Early attempts of overlookers to organise date at least from 1849 when an association was formed in Old ham. The process of organisation proved to be a difficult one. The first society to survive for more than a few years seems to have been at Blackburn, formed in April 1858 as the Blackburn and District Power Loom Overlookers Association, but with branches at Accrington, Bury, Chorley, Clayton-le-Moors, Clitheroe and Great Harwood. Its objects, like those of other overlookers' organisations of the period, were those of a benefit society, providing protection to its members against loss of earnings resulting from breakdowns, fires, floods, commercial failures of employers and, above all, against serious stoppages by weavers. 'To make it unnecessary for [overlookers] to resort to acts which are degrading in themselves, to the Society, and to the community at large'.1 The example of Blackburn was followed by other local groups of powerloom overlookers and especially in 186S by Pendleton which added to the list of temporary benefits permanent support in old age, and which two years later sought more universal appeal by changing its title to 'National Power Loom Overlookers Association'.