Scope and Content

Records of the Oxford and District Co-operative Society (formerly Oxford Co-operative and Industrial Society). Includes a small number of records relating to its successor body, the Oxford and Swindon Co-operative Society.

The collection is primarily formed of minutes and reports, but also includes magazines and newsletters, handbooks, histories, photographs and ephemera.

The Oxford Co-operative and Industrial Society was formed in 1872, as a co-operative trading concern for the local area. Initially operating from small premises in George Street, the movement grew in the 19th century to encompass branches in Cowley, Witney and Headington, among others. In addition to trading, the society promoted co-operative values, and financially supported the education and training of working class youth. Continued expansion in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a number of new branches, including stores at Kidlington, Didcot, Bicester, Thame, Woodstock and Wallingford. In 1938, the society was renamed the Oxford and District Co-operative Society to reflect the wider scope of the organisation.

Originally purveyors of groceries and foodstuffs, coal, drapery and small consumer items such as crockery, boots and shoes, the society entered the milk trade in 1929 and opened a butchery department in 1930. In 1939, the society created pharmacy and hairdressing sections, forming the Oxford and District Co-operative Chemists Ltd in 1944. The 1940s saw the society develop its catering trade and branch out into funeral furnishing and electrical goods. Its first self-service shop opened in 1949 on the Cowley Road and its first ‘supermarket’ in Headington in 1957.

The Oxford Society merged with Chipping Norton in 1968 and Swindon in 1969, forming the Oxford and Swindon Co-operative Society. In 1991, a merger with Gloucester and Severnside Co-op created Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester Co-operative, which joined with the West Midlands Society in 2005 to form The Midcounties Co-operative.

The records were deposited in 2015 by the Midcounties Co-operative Society as accession 6360.

Catalogued by Katherine Kinrade in February 2018.

Access Information

Some records may be closed under the Data Protection Act, please see the individual records for more details.