Promotional material for CWS Defiant products

Scope and Content

The collection consists of material relating to the Co-operative Wholesale Society Defiant products that was collated by Henry Comley. The material includes product catalogues, photographs and the Defiant Sales and Service Bulletin.

Administrative / Biographical History

In the early 1920s broadcasting began and early radios began to be sold at local Co-op shops. One of the most successful co-operative societies in trading in radios was Barnsley British Co-operative Society who in 1925 opened the co-operative movement's first specialist wireless shop. By the late 1920s the co-operative movement was becoming very successful in selling radios and this drew attention from independent radio traders. They complained that the dividend was unfair trading and representations were made to the Radio Manufacturers' Association. It was suggested by the radio set manufacturers that the Co-op should not give dividend on the sale of radios. This went against the principles of the co-operative movement and as such they continued to give dividend on their sales. Shortly afterwards manufacturers began suspending supplies.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) began in 1863 as a wholesaler to the co-operative movement. They had many factories and produced goods to be sold by co-operative societies. Following the boycott by radio manufacturers the CWS was encouraged to produce its own brand radios. By 1933 the CWS had come up with a design given the brand name Defiant. This was unveiled on 5th December 1933 at a show for retail buyers held in Manchester. The Defiant radio was a success and the CWS produced various different styles and later on went into producing television sets.

Source: Story of Defiants, in Co-operative News (30 Jul 1991)

Access Information

All open materials, can be viewed by previous arrangement, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Contact the Archivist at:National Co-operative Archive, Co-operative College, Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS,,

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Henry Comley, June 2011. Accession number: Arc/2011/13.

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Adam Shaw, Archivist, March 2013.