Co-operative Women's Guild, Lea Valley District Papers

Scope and Content

The collection consists of records relating to the Lea Valley District; the branch guilds of Enfield Central, College Road, Enfield Town, and Cheshunt; and general Women's Guild records.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Co-operative Women's Guild is a national organisation. The Women's League for the Spread of Co-operation was established in 1883, changing its name to the Women's Co-operative Guild in 1885 and the Co-operative Women's Guild in the mid 1960s. The Guild is run at a national level but organised into local branches and regional districts. Annually districts and branches from different parts of the country meet at congress. The Lea Valley District includes the following branches; Enfield Central; College Road; Enfield Town; and Cheshunt.

Co-operative Women's Guilds were set up to provide women with a voice within the movement. Many of the societies would only allow one member per family and as such it was generally always the man that attended meetings. Some societies refused to accept women as members without their husband's consent. The Women's Guilds started when Alice Acland began an article called 'Women's Corner' in the Co-operative News. The aim of the article was to link Co-operative Women together and discuss subjects such as cookery, child care, and needlework. It was then suggested that an independent guild of women be formed that would hold recreational and instructional classes for women. The first Women's Guilds were formed in 1883 and by 1889 there were 51 branches.

The Enfield Central Co-operative Women's Guild was set up in 1895 with the aims to 'organise women for the the study and practice of co-operative methods of social reform, and improved conditions of domestic life.'


The records are arranged by district and branch

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

The collection was deposited at the National Co-operative Archive Nov 2006 by former secretary of Enfield Central Women's Guild Mrs Lay.

Other Finding Aids

None available

Archivist's Note

Catalogue compiled by Adam Shaw, Assistant Archivist, Oct 2008.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction can be carried out in accordance with our Reproduction Policy. Please contact the Archive for details.

Custodial History

The collection was deposited with the National Co-operative Archive by former secretary of Enfield Central Women's Guild Mrs Lay, Nov 2006. Additional records were transferred from the South Midlands Co-operative Society collection held at the National Co-operative Archive Oct 2008.


None expected

Related Material

SMD- South Midlands Co-operative Society papers held at the National Co-operative Archive.

Geographical Names