Records of the Co-operative Holidays Association and Holiday Fellowship

Scope and Content

Brochures, song books, magazines and ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Co-operative Holidays Association originated in 1891, when church Minister T.A Leonard took a small party from his congregation on a walking holiday to the Lake District as an alternative to the increasingly popular 'Wakes Week'. It was such a success that after several more excursions the Co-Operative Holidays Association was formally constituted with Leonard as Secretary.

The association continued to expand into the 20th century opening centres across Britain, with an emphasis on planned daily walks, evening social activities such as singing as well as a philosophy of social inclusion and revitalisation. However Leonard felt the movement had become too middle class, and formed the Holiday Fellowship (see below for more information) in 1913 which aimed to attract a more working class clientele.

Nevertheless, the association expanded further by leasing centres in beauty spots in both Britain and Europe, and survived through both the First and Second World Wars.

During the 1950s and 60s with the rise of car usage and the increasing popularity of cheap holidays abroad the CHA rebranded to the Countrywide Holidays Association in 1964 to distance themselves from the working class association with co-operation, and attempted to modernise their basic facilities . Subsequently they began to offer trips with a broader appeal such as coach tours and special feature holidays. Through the 1980s the attempt to compete with low cost package holiday providers and to upgrade their centres resulted in financial decline, and eventually the selling off of properties and parts of the company.

The Holiday Fellowship was founded in 1913 by T.A.Leonard which offered holidays abroad from the beginning of its establishment. This allowed the HF to evolve as cheap foreign holidays became more popular in the 1960s and 70s. From 1913 the HF had acquired many notable properties throughout Britain and began to offer a huge variety of leisurely activities by 1959. The organisation continued to modernise in 1982 when it was rebranded to HF Holidays. It's continuous expansion and ability to change rendered the organisation a success, joining the Co-operatives UK in 2011, and is still in operation today.

Access Information

Open access.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the National Co-operative Archive December 2014.

Other Finding Aids

List available.


None expected.