Stanford Hall Library International Collection

Scope and Content

The main bulk of the collection consists of Annual Reports written by Registrars appointed to oversee the growth of Co-operative Societies in individual countries. In addition there are a number of reports, promotional brochures and informational leaflets from individual societies and also from country wide organisations.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Co-operative College was established in 1919 as an adult and staff training centre for the co-operative movement and was initially based in the Co-operative Union building, Holyoake House, Manchester. Under the guidance of the Principal, Professor Fred Hall MA, it attracted large numbers of students, including many from overseas co-operatives. During the Second World War, the Training Centre on the top floor of Holyoake House was destroyed during the Manchester Blitz, making replacement premises imperative. The College, together with the Education Department of the Co-operative Union, relocated to Stanford Hall in time for the start of the first term of the 1945/6 session. In 1946, Dr Robert Marshall, OBE, MA, became the Principal and Chief Executive Officer and built up the reputation of the College as a national and international educational institution. Over many years a growing number of students from former colonial territories and Commonwealth countries attended College programmes. The College also ran residential courses in social/economic subjects for adult learners, and a wide range of retail and management courses for co-operative employees. In 2001 Stanford Hall was sold and the College relocated to its original home, Holyoake House in Manchester.


The collection has been arranged initially by individual country, geographical areas and global organisations.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader, subject to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Some files in this collection are subject to Data Protection legislation as they contain sensitive information and material under 30 years old is closed to access. It is advised that you contact the Archivist before visiting.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the National Co-operative Archive from the Co-operative College in 2000.

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Simon Sheppard, Project Archivist 2012.

Custodial History

The collection was previously housed in the library of the Co-operative College when it was based at Stanford Hall. Many of the items were sent to the library by the Co-operative Registrars in the individual countries whilst others were brought as gifts by students coming to study at the Co-operative College. When the College moved to Manchester the collection was moved into storage.


No further accruals are expected.

Corporate Names