Shepshed and Hathern Co-operative Society

Scope and Content

Records of Shepshed and Hathern Co-operative Society including the records of Hathern Industrial Co-operative Society and Shepshed Co-operative Provident & Industrial Society that merged to form the society.

The records include General committee minute books, Education Committee minute books, Coal Committee minute books, and reports and balance sheets.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Sheepshed, later renamed Shepshed Co-operative Provident and Industrial Society was formed on 25th March 1865 by 8 Stockingers; Joseph Argyle, Charles Argyle, William Hilier, Benjamin Hayes, John Blake, Charles Mee, John Hilier and George Clarke. They were heavily influenced by the Rochdale Pioneers who's work was reported by Henry Pitman in The Co-operator. The first meeting of the society was held in the Old Workhouse Room and over the next few months several further meetings were held as the rules were drawn up.

In January 1866 business commenced and new members were sought. The first shop was in a room in Field Street which was used for five years until larger premises were acquired in the Hallcroft. They remained there until 1873 when they moved back to Field Street to a new shop. Thereafter the society began to progress quickly; drapery and footwear departments were opened and sales increased. In 1885 a butchery department was started and in 1887 a small farm was acquired. The society opened a coal department and a bakery was built at Loughborough Road. By the turn of the century they had over 600 members.

The first branch shop was opened in 1914 at Belton. In 1915 new furnishing and butchery shops were opened. When the society celebrated its 5oth anniversary in 1915 it had over 1,200 members and was continuing to expand. In 1926 they opened a new branch store at Kings Road. In 1929 Charles Mee, one of the founders, retired as Secretary and was succeeded by Mr W. O. Wortley. The 1930s saw the depression in the UK but the society continued to develop and opened greengrocery, a Kings Road butchery branch and a grocery branch at Belton.

In the post war years the society expanded quickly. By 1947 they had nearly 2,300 members. In 1954 branches were opened on the Glenmore Estate. In 1954 Mr W. O. Wortley retired as Secretary and was succeeded by Mr J Walton.

In 1959 Hathern Co-operative Society merged with Shepshed and they became the Shepshed and Hathern Co-operative Society. Hathern Society was formed in 1872. In 1959 Mr S. F. Simpkin who had been Secretary retired and they decided it was time to merge with Shepshed. They had previously often co-operated with one another over such things as the supply of bread and coal.

In 1962 the Shepshed and Hathern Society began extensive alterations to the central premises and was completed in 1965. At the time of its 100th anniversary in 1965, as well as the central premises, the society had four grocery branches, three butchery shops, a butchery traveling shop, five milk rounds, a coal delivery service, bakery rounds, radio and television servicing facilities, and catering and funeral furnishing.

In 1973 the society took the decision to transfer its engagements to Leicestershire Co-operative Society.

Source: Shepshed and Hathern Co-operative Society Ltd. Centenary 1865-1965