Papers of Marjorie Porter

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of records relating to Majorie's involvement with the co-operative movement, including records relating to Lambeth Co-operative Community Council and Co-operative Friends of Jamaica. These include pamphlets, letters, reports, newspaper cuttings and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in 1907, Marjorie devoted her life to education. After Bonneville and Mary Datchelor Schools, Marjorie Birch taught at Lyndhurst Grove and Crawford Schools. As Mrs. Gaskin, she taught at Gloucester Grove and was Head Teacher at Ashmole and Johanna Schools. Marjorie was justly famous for her promotion of music in schools; even in 'retirement' she taught music in local schools, voluntarily, for over thirty years and, in her 98th year, still taught piano.

On retirement Marjorie became active in local politics (her second husband, Alderman Bill Porter, was Mayor of Lambeth) and in community and voluntary activities in the district. The Triangle and Adventure Playground, Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Co-operative Community Council, Co-operative Friends of Jamaica, The Globe Theatre, Roots and Shoots, and the Friends of Durning Library are just some of the many causes which were helped by Marjorie's idealism and energy. Retaining her interest in education, Marjorie Porter became a school governor and Chair of Governors at Walnut Tree Walk and Ethelred Schools until well into her nineties.

For her services to Lambeth, Marjorie Porter was honoured by the council in 1999, and again in 2002. In recognition of her 'services to children and the local community', she was awarded the M.B.E. in 1999. She died in January 2009 at 101 years of age.

Marjorie came to the Co-operative Movement late in life, although she had been related through marriage to the great co-operative educator Joseph Reeves.

The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society had operated a member engagement structure for many decades in which local members could attend Area Member Councils. These AMCs then came together to form District Member Councils. There was a formal link between these and the Board, thus creating a structure which linked the Board with its grassroot members.This was abandoned shortly after the merger with the Co-operative Wholesale Society. The AMCs were converted to Co-operative Community Councils. These CCCs were monthly meetings of members with a speaker. Marjorie became secretary of Lambeth Co-operative Community Council and turned it into an exceptional group. She ensured that the speakers were educational on co-operative and community matters. She ensured that the group had a voice to co-operative management and was connected to its co-op committee. She helped recreate the links with other groups that had been lost with the demise of the DMCs.

Her greatest frustration was the Co-op's failure to engage the Caribbean community. She tackled this by inviting a former officer of the Jamaican co-operative movement to speak at the group. She then helped set up the Co-operative Friends of Jamaica group which helps to increase awareness of Jamaican co-operation and supports Jamaican businesses.

Source: Depositor's notes on Marjorie Porter


The records are arranged under two organisations- Lambeth Co-operative Community Council and Co-operative Friends of Jamaica

Access Information

National Co-operative Archive, Co-operative College, Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS.

All open materials, can be viewed by previous arrangement, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Contact the Archivist at:

Email, web

Acquisition Information

Deposited Oct 2009 by Peter Couchman

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Simon Foster, Volunteer, December 2009 and January 2010


None expected

Geographical Names