Failsworth Industrial Society Limited

Scope and Content

The collection consists of records relating to Failsworth Industrial Society. These records relate to properties acquired by the society and consist of wills, abstract of the title documents, statutory declarations, replies to requisitions on title documents, correspondence, plans and schedules of deeds and documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Failsworth Industrial Society was formed in 1859, with a co-operative grocery shop opening in Dob Lane on 28th March 1859. Its first members were William Fletcher, James Taylor, Jock Whitehead, William Barlow, Charles Cordow, James Robinson, Robert Barlow, Thomas Hayes, Tom Taylor, Jonathan Taylor, Josiah Etchells, Ben Aldred, James Winterbotton and James Smith. Thomas Hayes played a prominent part in the establishment of the Failsworth Industrial Society and became the first Secretary of the Society. He drew up the rules for the Society based on those of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society.

The Society had difficulties early on with traders refusing to supply goods but this was remedied after the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) was established. The CWS was established in 1863 and the Failsworth Society was among the first shareholders of this organisation with Thomas Hayes becoming a part-time director of the CWS. He went on to be appointed manager to the first CWS productive enterprise, the Crumpsall biscuit factory. He was first chairman of the Co-operative Newspaper Society and also a director of the Co-operative Printing Society.

Another local co-operative called the Failsworth Co-operative Commonwealth Society was established in 1898 but the Society did not believe in the payment of dividends on purchases and it collapsed within a year. The Failsworth Industrial Society celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1909 and at that time it had nearly 10,000 members and operated 43 shops. The Failsworth Industrial Society's Newton Heath Emporium Store had been opened in 1898. The Society had opened a library in 1873 and in 1909 it's valuable collection of 20,000 books was passed to the local Council as a nucleus to the first public library.

The Failsworth Industrial Society was a pioneer for a new federation. It set up a laundry business in 1908, which would join with 10 other local societies in 1913 and this federal enterprise would grow to be the United Co-operative Laundries. The Society was also a partner in the formation of the Manchester and District Funeral Association and in 1932 joined forces with four other retail societies and the CWS in establishing the United Co-operative Dairies.

The boundaries of the Failsworth Industrial Society were bounded by neighbouring societies and in 1929 the New Moston Society merged with the Failsworth industrial Society. During the 1960s and 1970s changing patterns of retailing led many co-operative societies to merge and in 1977 Failsworth Society became part of Norwest Co-operative Society. This became part of United Norwest in 1991, United Co-operatives in 2002 and became the Co-operative Group in 2007.

Source: Failsworth Industrial Society Limited. Centenary 1859-1959

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

The records were transferred to the National Co-operative Archive from the Co-operative Union Archive, 2000.

Other Finding Aids

No other finding aids exist.

Archivist's Note

Catalogue compiled by Catherine Hoodless, Volunteer, May-Jun 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction can be carried out in accordance with our Reproduction Policy. Please contact the Archive for details.


None expected

Related Material

The National Co-operative Archive holds copies of:

  • Failsworth Industrial Co-operative Society Monthly Messenger (1891-1954)
  • Co-operative Home Magazine, Failsworth Industrial Society Education Department (Mar 1954-Dec 1958)


  • Failsworth Industrial Society Limited. Centenary 1859-1959 (1959)
  • Failsworth Industrial Society Limited Jubilee History, by J H Ogden (1909)