Burnley Equitable Co-operative & Industrial Society

Scope and Content

This series consists of records created by the Burnley Equitable Co-operative & Industrial Society Ltd including leases and agreements and share books.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Burnley Equitable Co-operative & Industrial Society was formed in 1860. The first meeting was held on the 20 Sep 1860 at the house of John Spencer. The second meeting was held on 26 Sep 1860 where the rules were agreed and the Society was named "The Burnley Wood Co-operative Store." The first original members were John Spencer (Chairman), Thomas Taylor (Secretary), Joseph Bracewell, William Smith, James Lowcock, John Camm, Richard Burrell, William Edwards, Henry Smith, J B Robinson, and James Laycock.

Business commenced at No. 37 Hammerton Street, the shop opening 6- 9 p.m. every evening. By the end of their second year additional shops were opened at No.32 Anne Street, Brunshaw and later at Padiham Road. They also quickly went into shoemaking and clogging. A larger central depot at Hammerton Street was opened and bought from John Radcliffe. This three storey building also provided for a reading room and library.

In 1864 the Secretary was dismissed and prosecuted for falsifying the books and the Society was almost ruined. The members each donated £1 and the two new branch stores were given up along with the clogging department. However, the Society managed to survive.

By 1872 sales had began to rise again and the Society opened up a new store on Royal Street. In 1873 another store was opened at No. 69 Padiham Road, and this was follwed by a further store at Burnley Wood. In 1876 land was taken at the junction of Old Hall Street and Grey Street, and another shop was purchased at Accrington Road. A further store was also built at Oxford Road Bridge.

By the end of 1881 annual sales had risen again. A three storey builing was built at Trafalgar Road, a further store was built at Bevill Street, and also stores at Waterloo Road, Rumley Road, Brougham and Canning Street.

By 1884 the Society had ten branch stores. The old Central Stores were considered unsuitable and therefore new premises were taken opposite the old Central Store. On 12 Dec 1885 Thomas Hughes layed the Memorial Stone on the Society's 25th anniversary.

The Society continued to prosper throughout two world wars until in 1968 it amalgamated with Padiham Society to become the Pendle Society. In 1971 this Society became part of the Co-operative Retail Services.

Source: 'Historical Sketch of the Burnley Equitable Co-operative and Industrial Society', (1885), and 'Burnley Equitable Co-operative and Industrial Society one hundred and twenty years on', (1983).