Hawick Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

This file consists of records created by the Hawick Co-operative Society including photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hawick Co-operative Society was formed in 1867 from the existent Hawick Chartist Provision Store which had been trading since 1839. A story told about the original Hawick Chartist Provision Store holds that the members of the committee initially acted as the salesmen, but their inexperience led to such difficulty with giving customers the correct change that they employed their first salesman, Mr James Smith only 2 months after the society was started.

The initial Hawick Chartist Provision Store included as one of its rules that members must be Chartists, however by 1867 upon the change to the Hawick Co-operative Society, this rule was dropped in favour of welcoming members of any political pursuasion. Within 20 years the society had 2,092 members at seven branches. The numbers of members and branches increased steadily and by 1932 the society was farming its own land and providing carting and dressmaking services for its members as well as groceries, baked goods, shoes, and even jewellery in its stores.

The society continued to grow and by 1966 it had 7,881 members and owned a Department Store on the High Street, a supermarket and a Teenage Fashion Store as well as the more usual grocery stores, butchers and bakers.

The Hawick Co-operative Society merged with the Jedburgh Co-operative Society in 1968 to form the Hawick and Jedburgh Co-operative Society, which traded for 16 years before merging to form the larger Central Borders Co-operative Society.

Sources: The Co-operative Directory, Central Co-operative Board, 1887; The Co-operative Directory, Co-operative Union Ltd, 1932; Co-operative Directory, Co-operative Union Ltd, 1966; and History of Co-operation in Scotland: Its inception and its leaders, W. M. Maxwell, Co-operative Union, 1910.