Scope and Content


Aspatria Agricultural Co-operative Society Ltd: pass books for accounts with Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd 1874-1917; annual financial statements 1872-1971; summary statement of annual figures of sales [1890]; statements of tonnage and commission 1903-1912; microfilm copies of minute books 1870-1949; correspondence from Maryport and Carlisle Railway to Henry Thompson, Aspatria Agricultural Co-operative Society Ltd 1878-1898; Exchange forms, ration cards and coupons [1940s], 1952-1953; rule book 1870; reports of court actions 1871-1872; annual reports on analysis of manures and feed stuffs 1898-1910; publication leaflets 1890-1899; circular letter regarding supplies of chemical manures c1900; article on centenary of Aspatria Cooperative Society [1969]; monograph of lecture on the Present Condition and Future Prospects of Agriculture by William Norman 1883; monograph of Elementary Lectures on Veterinary Science by Henry Thompson 1896, 1902; pamphlet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Aspatria Agricultural Co-operative Society Ltd 1919;

Aspatria Agricultural Show Society: show catalogue 1912

Aspatria Public Hall Co Ltd: annual financial statements and reports 1884; microfilm of minute book 1873-1900; fire insurance policy 1893

Cumberland Steam Cultivation Co Ltd: account concerning total cost of engines and plant 1872-1876; financial statements 1873-1881; minute book 1872-1880; letter from Carrick's Cumberland Dairy, Carlisle 1922

Cumberland and Westmorland Farm School: annual governors' report 1923

Administrative / Biographical History

Aspatria Agricultural Society originated in the idea of a small group of farmers, including William Norman and John Twentyman, to form a small company to enable them to purchase feeding stuffs and manures on a guaranteed quality basis. It was decided to form a cooperative and at the instigation of Twentyman and Norman the Aspatria Agricultural Cooperative Society was registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act in April 1870, the Society formed on a subscription of 1 shares.

Before an Act of 1906 there was no legislation to protect farmers from exploitation by safeguarding the quality of raw materials. The Society's aim was to protect it's members interests by only buying fertilisers and feeding stubbs under a guaranteed standard. The result of this principle was a court case which was to prove the Society's effectiveness following the very first order placed by the new cooperative (see CR AAC CO7/1-2); they refused to pay more than the market value for a consignment of guano advertised as having a very high ammonia content but which on analysis proved to be of inferior quality. The cooperative was sued and lost the case, but appealed against the judgement and eventually settled out of court at a cost of 630 to the Society and over 2000 to the seller.

John Twentyman also worked to establish an accessible and affordable agricultural college in the area, again forming a company on 1 share (the Aspatria School Company), and occupying Sir Wilfred Lawson's Temperance Hall. The Aspatria Agricultural College moved into new premises when it was sold to Dr Webb and continued until the First World War.


AC Accounts

AC4 Pass book

AC7 Financial Statements

AD Administrative Records

AD1 Minute Books

AD4 Premises records (correspondence)

AD5 Materials records

CO Company Records

CO2 Records of companies and limited concerns including capital

CO7 Records of court actions

ET Technical Records

ET3 Annual Analysis reports

P Publications, Promotions and Advertising Records

P2 Individual advertising and servicing publications

P4 House journals and technical bulletins

SP Social and Personal Records

SP1 Monographs

SP2 Records of events, societies and organisations

Records of Aspatria Agricultural Show Society

Records of Aspatria Public Hall Co Ltd

Records of Cumberland Steam Cultivation Co Ltd

Records of Cumberland and Westmorland Farm School

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation

Acquisition Information

Deposited in 1972 (Accession numbers CR72/3, CR 72/98)


Compiled by Caroline Gould, January 2003

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the Archivist