Papers of Blanche Taylor (Secretary and typist for the CWS)

Scope and Content

Records collected by Blanche Taylor during her employment with the Co-operative Wholesale Society including CWS souvenirs, USDAW long service certificate, photograph, programme for a three day school and a journal containing an article written by Madge Taylor.

Administrative / Biographical History

Blanche Taylor (also sometimes referred to as Madge Taylor) was from Rochdale. She left school in 1923 to take up a career in Commerce. Her first job came at a blanket and flannel buyers in a wholesale firm, situtaed at Church Street, Manchester. On her journey from Rochdale to Manchester she went passed the CWS premises at Balloon Street and became interested in working there. In April 1927 she managed to obtain a position at the CWS as a typist. Blanche described how she was:

supervised by a stern and Dickensian-type female who was very proud of her status. Efficiency was the keynote. For the first time in my working life I had adequate facilities for producing top class work- an office with maximum daylight; a desk fitted with an angle- poise type lamp; room in which to keep all my equipment neat and tidy, with drawers to spare for my personal belongings; a scientifically designed adjustable chair. These items spelt luxury.

In 1928 the Board of Directors launched the Pension Scheme and staff were recruited to cope with the enormous project. Blanche was part of the set up along with other clerks, comptometer operators and typists. She was also invloved in the dramatic group The Balloon Street Players, her debut being in If Four Walls Told. Blanche also joined the ladies Hockey team which played on Saturday afternoons.

Blanche described the highlight of her supplementary working exercise as when she entered the Employees' Essay Competition and earned a First Prize. The prize was to stay a week at the College Hostel in Vine Street, Manchester.

Later in her career Blanche went into the Distributive Section of the CWS becoming secretary to the Bacon Importer and also joined the CWS Rambling Club.

Source: Business and Pleasure in the Co-op, by Madge Taylor in One and All (July 1979).

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

Depositted to the National Co-operative Archive by Miss L Bell, March 1998 via the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Adam Shaw, February 2012.

Appraisal Information

A CWS match box was also depositted but was kept at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum.


None expected.