Papers of Roger Sawtell

Scope and Content

This collection contains material relating to Roger Sawtell's involvement in the worker co-operative movement.

Administrative / Biographical History

Roger Sawtell was born in Sheffield and early in his career worked as an engineer at Spear and Jackson, a medium sized steel company in Sheffield. He progressed to become a director and then was offered the role of managing director. However, due to differences in opinions in how the business should be run, with Roger wanting it to be more participative, he turned this role down. Roger then went on to do a commissioned survey for the Industrial Society in 1967, focusing on companies that were working in unusual participative ways. Following this Roger went to work at Trylon, an employee-owned company set up in 1968 by Ernest Bader in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. Trylon focused on the sale of glassfibre materials, plastics and craft materials especially for schools. After 6 years Roger left Trylon and spent the next 6 years self-employed as an advisor/consultant to new companies interested in worker co-operative and employee ownership models. During this time Roger was also key in setting up, the co-operative support organisations ICOM (Industrial Common Ownership Movement) and ICOF (Industrial Common Ownership Finance). This included writing theICOM Model Rules, and pushing the 1976 Industrial Common Ownership Act through Parliament. Roger was also involved in persuading the government to set up a National CDA (Co-operative Development Agency), in 1978, and became one of the first board members. Following this Roger was keen to try out the ICOM Model Rules within a real life context to see if they were fit for purpose, this led him to form Daily Bread Co-operative as a test co-operative from a Christian housegroup he was involved in. This early co-operative allowed for revisions to the model rules to be made and guidebooks to these rules to be formulated. In the late 1970s Daily Bread Co-operative was set up as an active co-operative in Northampton, selling wholefoods. The co-operative was set up as a business that would reflect the founders Christian beliefs. Since then a sister co-operative has been formed, Daily Bread, Cambridge. Roger stayed at Daily Bread, Northampton full time until 1987, from which point he stayed on for a few more years part time and then as a Trustee. In 1997 he fully retired from Daily Bread but has continued to do co-operative development work up and down the country with co-operatives such as Shared Interest, a co-operative finance company in Newcastle.


The material was arranged into labelled categories by Roger Sawtell. The series in this collection largely follow the order and titles of these original categories.

Access Information

Access to some material may be restricted due to Data Protection.

Acquisition Information

In October 2017, the National Co-operative Archive published a call-out for historic materials within the wider workers' co-operative community for Working Together , a Heritage Lottery Funded project seeking to record and preserve the heritage of the workers' co-operative movement. This material was deposited in response to this call out.


None expected

Related Material

Roger Sawtell oral history interview and transcript - available on the National Co-operative Archive website, or on request at the National Co-operative Archive.

Selection of deposited publications which are available at the National Co-operative Archive.

Personal Names