Women's Cooperative Guild: annual reports

Scope and Content

Annual Reports of the Womens Cooperative Guild, 1893 (10th), 1895-1945 (12th-62nd), 1949-1956 (66th-73rd).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Co-operative Women's Guild was formed in 1883 following the first inclusion of a women's page in 'Co-operative News'. Its aim was to spread the knowledge of the benefits of co-operation and improve the conditions of women with the slogan "co-operation in poor neighbourhoods". In 1885 the organisation changed its name to the Women's Co-operative Guild. In 1889 Miss Margaret Llewelyn Davies (1861-1943) became General Secretary on a voluntary basis and Miss Lilian Harris was appointed Cashier to the Guild. Under the direction of these two women the organisation expanded rapidly from 51 branches and a membership of 1700 in 1889 to a peak of 1500 branches and a membership of 72,000 in 1933. By this time the organisation had again been changed to the Co-operative Women's Guild. Margaret Llewelyn Davies was the daughter of Reverend John Llewelyn Davies, a Christian Socialist and supporter of women's rights. She ran the Guild's affairs from her father's vicarage at Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria. Under her leadership the Guild became a campaigning body. After carrying out an investigation into the working conditions of the 2000 women employed in co-operative stores, the Guild advocated the introduction of a minimum wage. By 1912 the Co-operative Wholesale Society and 200 other retail stores had complied with the Guild's policy on wages.

Llewelyn Davies was a member of the National Union of Suffrage Societies, and she took part in several peaceful demonstrations, including a sandwich-board picket of the House of Commons in 1912. She also gave evidence to the Royal Commission on divorce reform and the Guild created great controversy by urging that divorce by mutual consent after two years separation should be legalised. Other campaigns instigated by Llewelyn Davies included an attempt to reduce the high infant-mortality rates by the introduction of improved ante-natal, natal, and post-natal care. Her publications include: 'Maternity' (1915); 'Life as We Have Known It' (1931).


In chronological order.

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Printed handlist available

Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

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