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A Brief History of NAMM

The beginnings
The Association was founded on 12th March 1907 by a few memorial masons anxious to raise standards in the trade. Raising standards in an unregulated industry, and in a culture where anything to do with death is swept under the carpet, is extremely difficult but this has always remained NAMM’s aim. The Association created a national competition; ‘Craftex’ came into being in the 1950s and has grown steadily over the years to reflect the new methods of working within the industry./Administration

As in any membership based organisation, giving help to members whenever it can has always been high on NAMM’s agenda. The current regional organisation apparently started in the war when ‘Districts’ were formed for reasons of mutual assistance. 1976 saw the Scottish Association joining forces with NAMM and forming the Scottish Region, and in 1978 the Wholesalers and Manufacturers, then in associate membership, were accepted as full members. The ‘Wholesale Section’ was born.

Training members
From the early days NAMM laid on short specialised seminars for members but in 1986 it took the very large step of becoming the managing agent for a City & Guilds validated training course devised by its Technical and Training Committee in conjunction with Bath College. This move soon resulted in the Department of Employment conferring upon it the status ‘Approved Training Organisation’.

Setting standards
The outline written Code of Working Practice adopted by NAMM in the 1980’s was extensively revised in 1990 and has now been accepted by many burial authorities as the minimum standard to which memorials should be fixed. Standards of business practice also cause concern, so in 1990 a written Code of Good Business Practice was introduced. The Association’s Conciliation and Arbitration Service has now become well known and respected by the various consumer organisations, Citizens Advice Bureaux etc. and, through them, the public.

International relationships
In the early 1980s the Association became an active member of the Council of British Funeral Services; in 1981 it was involved in the founding of the International Monument Federation, to which the memorial associations in most of the English-speaking countries of the world now belong; in 1989 it joined the European federation of natural stone associations ‘EuroRoc’ (then known as ‘FIMIGCEE’). NAMM was also instrumental in setting up the Memorial Awareness Board in the UK. With the primary aim of promoting memorialisation, MAB act on behalf of the entire bereavement industry promoting masons and cemeteries to the nation.