The Belfast Benevolent Society of St Andrew, established in 1867, was the most important of a network of clubs and societies that catered for the Scottish population of Victorian and Edwardian Belfast. Its structure was that of a 'subscriber democracy' as defined by R.J. Morris. Membership was drawn primarily from first or second generation Scottish members of the city's middle and upper middle class. Its most important activity was in providing financial support to poorer members of the Scottish community. As with other charitable bodies of the period, its work combined philanthropic benevolence with a degree of moralistic social control. However a close analysis of individual cases suggests that charitable motives were consistently to the fore.