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University of Wisconsin. College of Agriculture. Dept. of Agricultural Economics / Cooperation principles and practices: the application of cooperation to the assembling, processing and marketing of farm products, to the purchase of farm supplies and consumers' goods and to credit and insurance
([1937])

V. Cooperation in Great Britain,   pp. 40-47 PDF (2.3 MB)


Page 43


vantages of collective buying. The Consumer Wholesale Society of England
has grown from a little shop on Toad Lane into one of the greatest cooperative
societies in the world. The success of the English consumers' movement has
spread its fame to all corners of the earth.
* The flannel weavers of Rochdale and a number of similar groups of In-
dustrial workers in England had successfully worked together for eight years
before Parliament passed measures giving them protection under the law.
In the decade 1852-62 a considerable number of societies were formed in dif-
ferent parts of England, Wales, and Scotland. About this time the leaders
of the consumers' cooperative movement recognized the advantages that might
be gained by making large purchases and otherwise coordinating the local
societies in the interests of their members.
    After some years of deliberation, Parliament again favored the mutual
aid societies by giving them the right to federate the locals into larger
or-
ganizations. In the same year, 1862, the famous Cooperative Wholesale So-
ciety Ltd. was formed. It began actual operations in March, 1868 in Man-
chester. In the years to follow the local societies formed federations in
differ-
ent parts of the country. Notable among these were: the Cooperative Whole-
sle Society of Scotland organized at Glasgow (1869), the Wholesale Society
at Newcastle (1862), and the Central Cooperative Agency, West End, London
(1874). The last two became important branches of the Cooperative Wholesale
Society at Manchester shortly after their organization. In 1876 the Cooper-
ative Wholesale Society Bank was organized as a "Loan and Deposit De-
partment" to accomodate the members of the Society who wished to make
or place loans.
    The original intent in organizing the C.W.S. (a universally accepted
ab-
breviation of the name Cooperative Wholesale Society, Ltd.) was for the
purpose of buying groceries for local cooperative societies. The savings
made
in groceries, however, were so impressive that the local societies demanded
collective purchases of other necessities. "They had to turn to boots
and
shoes, to draperies, and to furniture. There was no stopping. Boots somehow
led to blankets and blankets to bedsteads and bedsteads to brushes."
In time
the economies of making collective purchases were rather fully exploited
and
attention was turned to the possibilities of manufacturing. This, at least,
in
the minds of the members was not a difficult step to take as one of the primary
motives for organizing the original local societies was that of employing
its
own members in the production of workers' necessities. The C. W. S. has
steadily gained ground since 1862 as shown in Table VI.
    Cooperation in Great Britain has influenced the development of the move-
ment in other countries, but more particularly in continental Europe. The
extent to which the cooperative scheme of organization has been adapted and
orderly arranged for industries is best shown by an outline description.
                    Fields of Cooperative Specializatieo
    1. Coeumuers' Detall Stores-The expansion beginning with one store on
Toed Lane in Roehdale (1844) and growing to more than 1,200 retail distribu-
tive outlets and depots represents the phenominal rise of the consumer move-
ment throughout England, Wales and Scotland (1985). These stores ae fed-
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