Records of Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society Ltd

Scope and Content

The collection includes Management Committee minute books for various periods between 1890 and 1966, and thereafter minute books of the Board of Directors to 1979, members' meetings minute books, rules, handbooks, registers of officers, sub-committee minute books (finance, drapery, grocery, bakery, coal, stables, farm, etc), quarterly, half-yearly and annual reports and statements of accounts, purchase account books, and employee welfare records. There are also minutes of the Beverley and District Co-operative Society Ltd. and of its Education Department, the Market Weighton and District Co-operative Society, Hull Co-operative Chemists Ltd and the Skyline Restaurant and Catering Company. The earliest records are balance sheets of the Hull Co-operative Provident Co Ltd., for 1858-1867. There is a set of several hundred photographs of subjects such as cakes, exhibitions, groups of staff, individual portraits, premises, shop windows, vehicles, war damage (Second World War) and workshops, mainly from the 1930s and 1940s. Miscellaneous items include some early 20th century anti-co-operative posters issued by William Cussons of Hull, a 3 page history of the Co-operative Society in Bridlington, and a letter and two postcards from George Jacob Holyoake.

Administrative / Biographical History

The co-operative movement in England had its origins in the writings of Robert Owen from the 1820s. The practical expression of his ideas came in 1844 with the foundation of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, which was fully established by the 1850s. This society opened stores and workshops and was based on the principle of working people linked together in a system of manufacturing, distributing, selling and buying goods in a way that was co-operative and would, therefore, protect their interests.

The first consumers' co-operatives in Hull were mills, established during a period of high flour prices in the 1790s. Groups of local subscribers and benefactors funded the mills as a means of producing high quality flour at almost cost price. The Hull Anti-Mill Industrial Society was established in 1795 and the Hull Subscription Mill opened in 1800 (to cater for those who could not afford the Anti-Mill subscription). Both continued into the late 19th century. In 1857 the first general co-operative store opened in Dock Street in Hull, owned by the Hull Co-operative Provident Company Ltd. The company operated a dividend system, and established a Reading Room and a few branch stores, but trade was slow to develop and in 1882 the company went into liquidation.

The first co-operative shops of the Kingston upon Hull Co-operative Society opened for business in 1890, at 201 Hessle Road and 11 Wilton Terrace, Holderness Road. Behind this re-launch of the co-operative venture in Hull were the local Trades Council, trade unions and friendly societies. In the mid 1890s the Society opened a Boot Department and a Coal Department, an Educational Department was set up to organise lectures and events, and a Co-operators Cycle Club and a Field Naturalists Club were formed. The years 1901-1920 were a period of expansion and in 1908 the Society not only took over the floundering Bridlington Co-operative Society, but also opened 'a large central emporium' in Jameson Street. A co-operative dairy was established in 1915 and other wartime developments included a slaughterhouse and pork butchery, a fruit warehouse and banana ripening depot, and two farms. A merger with Beverley and District Co-operative Society was completed in 1929 and two years later a Co-operative Institute for educational and social events opened in Kingston Square. Further mergers took place in 1956 with Pocklington and District Co-operative Society and in 1963 with Market Weighton and District Co-operative Society. To reflect this there was a change of name to the Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society. The Society's new flagship store in King Edward Street opened in 1965 and became known locally as the Skyline Department Store. In 1981 the Society ceased to operate as an independent concern and voted to become part of Co-operative Retail Services.


U DHC/1 - 28 Management Committee minute books, 1891 - 1939

U DHC/29 Balance sheets of the Hull Co-operative Provident Company Ltd., 1858 - 1867

U DHC/30 Letterbook, 1901 - 1902

U DHC/31 Beverley and District Co-operative Society Ltd. minute books, 1901 - 1929

U DHC/32 - 44 Sub - committee minute books, 1907 - 1929

U DHC/45 - 46 Members' meetings minute books, 1924 - 1933

U DHC/47 - 60 Quarterly, half yearly and annual reports and statements of accounts, 1894 - 1973

U DHC/61-62 Sick Appliance Committee minute books, 1920 - 1951

U DHC/63-64 Hull Co-operative Society Employees' Recreation, Social and Welfare Club, 1925 - 1973

U DHC/65 Hull Co-operative Society Employees' Mutual Aid Association, 1945 - 1960

U DHC/66-70 Management Committee attendance books, 1936 - 1950

U DHC/71 - 75 Account books, 1939 - 1968

U DHC/76 - 82 Rules and handbooks, 1920 - 1981

U DHC/83 - 91 Miscellaneous, 1925 - 1978

U DHC/92 - 97 Management Committee minutes books, 1952 - 1966

U DHC/98 - 101 Members' meetings minute books, 1933 - 1975

U DHC/102 - 104 Member relations committee minutes books, 1973 - 1982

U DHC/105 - 109 Various minute books (including Hull Co-operative Chemists Ltd., Market Weighton and District Co-operative Society and Board of Directors of the Skyline Restaurant and Catering Company), 1926 - 1976

U DHC/111 - 112 Registers, 1954 - 1980

U DHC/113 - 115 Board of Directors minute books, 1966 - 1979

U DHC/116 - 126 Photographs, 1865 - 1952

U DHC/127 - 144 Miscellaneous, 1890 - 1963

U DHC/145 - 170 Minutes and Miscellaneous

Access Information

Some of the records in this collection contain sensitive personal information. In accordance with data protection legislation, records containing sensitive personal information are not available for public inspection for 75 years if the information relates to adults, or 100 years if the information relates to children. In some circumstances access may be granted for research purposes. To request access or for further information please contact

Access to all other material will be granted to any accredited reader.

Other Finding Aids

Entry in Business records subject guide

Conditions Governing Use

Co-operative Retail Services

Custodial History

Deposited in July 1972 [U DHC/1-46], July 1982 [U DHC/47-91], November 1982 [U DHC/92-112], December 1989 [U DHC/113-115], March 1990 [U DHC/116-126], June 1990 [U DHC/127-144] and June 2011 [U DHC/145-163]

Related Material

Records of the Co-operative Women's Guild [U DCW]

Records of the International Co-operative Women's Guild [U DCX]

Records of the Co-operative Productive Federation [U DCF]

Records of Hull Printers Ltd. [U DHP]

Other repositories:

National Co-operative Archive, The Co-operative College [GB 1499]


  • Banner, Arnold, British co-operation: the history, principles, and organization of the British co-operative movement (1970)
  • Cole, G D H, A century of co-operation (1944)
  • Hall, F & Watkins, W P, Co-operation: a survey of the history, principles and organisation of the co-operative movement in Great Britain and Ireland (1934)
  • Marshall, Samuel, History of co-operative development: Hull and district (Manchester: Co-operative Press, 1951)
  • Smith, John E, The shop for the people: two centuries of co-operative enterprise in Hull and East Yorkshire (Cherry Burton: Hutton Press, 1998)