Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd

Scope and Content

This collection consists of records relating to the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society. The records contain information regarding the purchase of property on Cheetham Hill Road, Dukinfield by the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society. The collection contains valuations of property, reports on valuations and correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd was formed on 7th March 1859 when eleven men met "to discuss the practicability of opening a store where the working man's wife might purchase with safety and advantage those articles of consumption which are daily required in the homes of working men." There is some uncertainty as to the identity of those present, but the minute book of this first meeting indicates that Johanan Booth, Thomas Baxter, James Cook, Charles Gaskill, Daniel Woolley, Ambrose Jackson, William Haynes, Alexander Maxwell, Joseph Edgar and Thomas Phillips were probably present. The first general meeting was held on 21st March 1859, at this meeting John Bradbury, John France and Johanan Booth were elected trustees, and William Haynes and Joseph Woodhouse money stewards. On 9th June 1859, the rules that the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society had adopted were registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts. All correspondence at this time were addressed to Mr. Baxter, 30 Wakefield Road, Stalybridge.

Premises were rented in Water Street from Mr. Joshua Crowther on 16th May 1859, and it was decided that the words "Stalybridge Co-operative Stores, enrolled under Act of Parliament," were to be painted on the sign. Business at Water Street commenced on 11th November 1859, and this appears to have been followed by the opening of a butcher's shop on 3rd April 1860, at the top end of Caroline Street. Also around this time they ventured into the drapery business at No.58 Caroline Street and a branch store was opened in Grosvenor Street.

In 1861 four branches were opened - Castle Hall, Hurst, Waterloo and Millbrook. About twelve months later the last three took over their stores and operated on their own responsibility. However, the Hurst Society was eventually taken over by the Ashton Society and the Millbrook Society returned to the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society.

The Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society suffered greatly from the impact of the Cotton Panic in the early 1860s. Their shops were attacked in the Bread Riots of 19th March 1863 and severe loss of trade followed. The shop at Water Street closed and business transferred to Castle Hall branch. Butchering was given up, and the committee were left with only two shops, one grocery and one drapery. Towards the end of 1865, with the end of the American War of Independence, trade began to improve and confidence returned.

By the 1870s development was noticeable. The society became a member of the Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1874 and new premises, housing departments and offices, were built in Grosvenor Street and Back Grosvenor Street. The High Street branch was opened in 1877 and Millbrook in 1879. A start was made in boots and shoes in 1879. Branches began to open in quick succession; Mount Pleasant in 1882, Huddersfield Road in 1884, Heyrod in 1892, Castle Hall in 1899, and Cheetham Hill Road, Dukinfield in 1900. During these years butchering was revived and millinery, dressmaking, tailoring and coal delivery were started. In 1908 the Stocks Lane branch was added and the Castle Hall Mill was purchased.

Following the celebrations of the first fifty years of the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society in 1909, the society continued to develop. Ridge Hill branch was opened in 1912, the Castle Hall Mill site was developed and the grocery warehouse and furnishing department were opened in 1915. The furnishing department was separate from the drapery department but were both managed by Mr T. Faulkner, until he retired in 1945 and separate departmental managers were appointed.

The Society suffered due to the impact of the two world wars though, with the slump starting in 1921 and causing seven of the largest cotton mills in the town to close. However, the development of the society did not halt, and in 1922 the old property known as "Seels Yard" adjoining the Central Grocery on Grosvenor Street was acquired. Eventually the whole of the property including the grocer's shop was demolished, and the Central Premises embracing the butchery, grocery, footwear and offices were erected, and opened in 1930.

Following the end of the Second World War, the society opened a chemist shop on Birch Lane, Dukinfield, in 1947, which had to close due to a shortage of qualified chemists. This was followed in 1953 by the opening of a chemist shop in Millbrook. In 1946 the painting and decorating department commenced work and in 1949 the Millbrook branch was completely modernised and converted to the first self-service store in the district. Then in May 1952, the society put into service the first mobile grocery shop in the region, which was so popular a second had to be put on the road in 1958. In 1955 a grocery branch was purchased in Brushes Estate and in 1956 a chemist shop was acquired in Grosvenor Square.

In 1968 the society merged to become part of Pennine Co-operative Society, this became Norwest Co-operative in 1970, United Norwest in 1991, United Co-operatives in 2002 and in 2007 became part of the Co-operative Group

Source: Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd. 100 years of Progress, 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,

Archivist's Note

Catalogue compiled by Catherine Hoodless, Volunteer, Jun 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

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