South Wales Coalfield Collection

Cooperative Records 

oCo-operative Records
The modern co-operative movement evolved from the activities of the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. The basic idea of what later became a Co-operative Retail Society was that the co-operative would run a shop which sold local produce and that each member of the co-operative had shares in the shop. The manufacturing of goods to sell would also provide employment for the co-operative's members. Co-operatives were not just economic in nature; there was also a social dimension. They could help members get houses and improve their living conditions and create a sense of community.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society united all the individual co-operatives in a federation for the wholesale buying and manufacturing of goods. The North of England Wholesale Co-operative Society, later to represent the whole of England, was created in 1864 and the Scottish Wholesale Society in 1873. The co-operatives became involved in a wide range of activities from printing and publishing to agriculture and piano manufacture. By the 1950's there were approximately 10 million ‘co-operators' in the United Kingdom.

The Co-operative Union included the Wholesale Society and other co-operative bodies. It functioned as a governing body, defining co-operative practice and spreading information through the co-operative world.

In 1883 the Womens Co-operative Guild was created. At first it was called the Women's League for the spread of Co-operation. The Women's Co-operative Guild was set up to spread information on the purpose of co-operatives and their value to the community and the nation as a whole; it also promoted women and improved their standing in society.

140 volumes, 7 files, 2 folders, 1 bundle and 1 newspaper.


The UniversityPeopleLifeStudyResearchAdmissions
University of Wales Swansea 02 July, 2007 LIS Web Team