Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

This series consists of records created by Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society. This includes reports and balance sheets, membership records, Education Committee records, and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society was registered on 15th Oct 1891 and in Dec 1891 the first shop was opened at 2 Hampton Street. The first President was Mr G P Snape, Treasurer was Mr J Barlow, and Secretary was J Yates. The Committee was made up of Messrs W Rigby, A Edwards, W Foden, W Burge, W Farquhar, M Muir, A Masen, and W Tait. They started with a membership of 103.

In sep 1893 an improved store was opened at the corner of Catherine Street and Oliver Street and in 1894 a second grocery store and a small bakery were opened. In Jul 1895 a Boot and Drapery Department was opened at Catherine Street. Also in this year the first permanent Secretary, W H Score, was appointed. In 1895, Wallasey Co-operative Society joined the Birkenhead and District Co-operative Society. In 1896 a Birkenhead branch of the Co-operative Women's Guild was formed and in 1900 an Education Committee was established. In Apr 1904 a new bakery was opened in Price Street. In 1906 the Hoyland and West Kirby Co-operative Society was taken over. By 1916 membership was 17,500, there were 25 grocery and provision shops and large drapery, tailoring, and outfitting stores.

Following the First World War there was a slowing in the development of the society. However, the society still managed to enter into the Butchery and Milk Trade. In 1934 the Society purchased the 'Birkenhead Hippodrome' at Grange Road and began rebuilding its premises there. This was completed in 1935.

During the Second World War only 9 out of their 180 premises escaped damage. Following the War the Society began renovating all of its premises. In 1950 the Society established the Birkenhead & District Co-operative Chemists. By 1961 there was a membership of over 105,000.

In 1975 Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society joined the Co-operative Retail Services.

Source: 'Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society coming of age souvenir', by W B Gresty and W H Score (1912), and 'Brief History of the Birkenhead & District Co-operative Society Ltd 1891-1960', (1960).