Coalville Working Men's Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

Records of Coalville Working Men's Co-operative Society and the societies that merged with them; Markfield and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Administrative / Biographical History

The notion of setting up a co-operative society in Coalville was the idea of George Foster. His father had been involved in the nearby Long Eaton Co-operative Society and he had first hand experience of what was needed. Time was spent setting out the plans and information was sought from nearby societies, the CWS and the Co-operative Union. They collected share capital of £45 and, following difficulties regarding obtaining stock, they opened their first store at a small cottage at the end of Melbourne Street on 16th June 1882.

The first Secretary of the Society was Mr George S Nutt and the first store manager was Miss Radford. The first branch store was opened in October 1891 at Ellistown with the second one opened at Whitwick on 27 May 1892. The society progressed quickly and by the end of September 1892 the Society had a membership of 786. In January 1894 the Swannington branch was opened, in September 1895 the Ibstock branch and in November 1896 the Coalville East branch. In November 1898 a new bakery, stables and grocery warehouse was opened in Owen Street and in Januray 1899 a Tailoring department was approved. Further branches continued to be opened with Hugglescote branch in May 1902. In June 1902 a branch of the Women's Guild was commenced, in May 1903 the Butchery Department was opened, in July 1904 the Ashby Road branch, in December 1904 the Thringstone branch and in February 1905 the Bagworth branch.

The First World War saw the society affected with many horses comandeered and 41 employees leaving to join the forces. Several died including J W Brooks, R Brooks, W Collier, D Drinkwater, V Hancox, J Horrocks, W Mace, R Stinchcombe, W Tyers, T W Wild. Despite the War the Society continued to progress and they bought their first motor on 30th October 1913- a Belseize 21 HP. Further branches were opened at Desford on 3rd July 1915 and Belvoir Rd on 5th August 1916. In December 1918 the Society bought Elms Farm, Thringstone and in February 1919 Barrow Hill Lodge Farm. In December 1919 a further farm was bought- Stordon Grange Farm.

In September 1920 Markfield Co-operative society transferred to Coalville Society and became a branch. This was followed by Ashby de la Zouch Co-operative Society transferring in August 1921. Further developments included Barlestone branch in February 1923, a Drug and Chemistry department in January 1927 and in August 1929 Newbold Verdon branch.

In 1932 the Society celebrated it's 50 year anniversary and each member's child that attended the Children's Gala was given a mug. A bronze tablet was also made that bore the names of pioneers of the Society.

The Society continued to progress until in 1969 the decision was taken to merge with Leicester Co-operative Society, Melton Mowbray Industrial Co-operative Society and Market Harborough Industrial Co-operative Society to form Leicestershire Co-operative Society.

Source: History of Coalville Working Men's Co-operative Society Limited, by A Lockwood and C W Brown (1932).

Geographical Names