Tranent Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

This subseries consists of records created by the Tranent Co-operative Society. These include financial records, buildings records, correspondence, press cuttings, and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Tranent Co-operative Society was formed in 1865 by a group of miners concerned with procuring unadulterated food at fair prices and their first branch was located on Bridge Street, Tranent. The first committee of the society were also concerned with the moral wellbeing of Tranent’s inhabitants and it was one of their rules that alcohol was not to be sold by the Society.

The branch grew quickly and in only 20 years had 954 members and had merged with the smaller Cockenzie Co-operative Society providing it with a new branch in Cockenzie. The society continued to grow both in membership and branches, and became the most successful in the area. By 1916 they had 2,770 members and owned 6 branches increasing to 5,321 members and 12 branches, 1 farm, and 1 market garden by 1932.

In 1936 the Tranent Society was the most powerful Co-operative in the area and it merged with the Haddington Society to form the Tranent and Haddington Co-operative Society. This provided the society with a near monopoly of the market in the area and by 1945 almost 12,000 of East Lothian’s population were members of the Tranent store.

Sources: The Co-operative Directory, Central Co-operative Board, 1887; Co-operative Directory, Co-operative Union Ltd, 1932; and History of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd, James Kinloch and John Butt, Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited, 1981