Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Norwest in Green and Yellow

Norwest Co-op report
Found this old Directors' Report from 1987 whilst rummaging through a pile of old papers. Why do we keep this old stuff? Things get put away and dumped into a junk room. Mine is a veritable trove of old ephemera, uncatalogued and piled in boxes.

Notice the green and yellow colour which was adopted by the Norwest Co-Op Society. The photograph doesn't do the yellow any favours it is really a strong canary yellow on paper. There is a list of all the members' half yearly meetings and there are 14 of them. There was one at Hardy Lane on Wednesday 21st October 1987 at 7.30pm and three others elsewhere on the same night. The Directors' and the people on the Members Relations Committee had to spread themselves across Greater Manchester over four different nights.

In the Member Relations Committee report the Woodcraft Folk, and the Norwest Co-Op New Mills Band are doing well. That band is still going after 200 years which is some achievement and have published some of their history in a book and still has The Co-Operative as a However the demise of the Stretford branch of the Co-Operative Women's Guild was reported due to a decline in membership.

Turnover was over 77 million GBP, an increase of 630 thousand. Now I've kept this old bit of paper it would be a shame to throw it away. Or would it?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tea Trolley rolls in

Old tea trolly in Co-op rooms
On recent visit to a meeting at the Hardy Lane Co-op Rooms managed to photograph the old tea trolley. It is one of the relics that has survived all the refurbishments of the premises over the years. Can't put a date on it but don't expect it to fetch much money in an antique auction. Some things survive and this has probably because it is not a fixture or fitting. Next time I'll inspect the underside for clues about its manufacture.

Actually seen it many times but paid it no heed until someone regaled a story of how it would be wheeled into the main room bearing a big tea pot and white cups and thus uplifting a dull and ponderous meeting. A nice refreshing brew and a break. That trolley has a history.

Fortunately the meeting this time wasn't dull. It was a history presentation by local historian Andrew Simpson. It was under the auspices of Withington Co-Operative Party and so had a local political theme. Going back to the 1832 General Election and forward to the contemporary political landscape with a nod to Chartism, Clarion, Peterloo and the Moss Side bye election of 1973.

As a nice touch one lucky person in the room won a copy of "The Story of Chorlton-cum-Hardy" written by the speaker. It has recently been published by The History Press. The rest of us had the opportunity to buy one and insist on a signed copy.

The tea trolley was rolled back into the kitchen, the post meeting social chatter followed and eventually everyone went home or to the pub.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wartime bomb maps

The local Tv news recently reported that the maps of where the bombs fell on Manchester during WWII are now available online. There is hardly a day when there isn't a story about the war and those who lived through it, and never a day when some Tv channel isn't showing a drama or documentary about that conflict. However this was now new information readily accessible for everyone. It was a revelation especially when you discover a fire bomb fell in front of your own house, or a high explosive bomb landed on the next plot on the  allotments up the road. It accounts for why we have hideous cheap post-war buildings in streets of fine old properties. For example Chorlton Post Office a construction of no merit that replaced a Victorian building that was destroyed by enemy action.

The whole of the city is divided up into various pages, and an hour has gone by before you realise you've just been staring at red (incendiary bombs) and blue (high explosives) markings on 80 year old Ordnance Survey maps. The maps also reveal how much of Chorlton was still fields and how many allotment gardens and tennis courts there were.

To keep it relevant to the weblog the picture is of the corner of Hardy Lane, Mauldeth Road West and Barlow Moor Road had shews where an explosive device fell on the 12th March 1940 and exactly a year later several more nearby. Both dates outside the heavy blitz on Manchester 22nd and 23rd December 1940.

Wartime Bomb Maps of Manchester.
Further stories of wartime bomb damage at Chorlton History......

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tahini & falafel at the Co-op

Tahini & Falafel at the Co-Op
Who would have thought that tahini, falafel mix, and harissa would appear on the shelves of the local Co-Op store? Well surprised! If you talk about these foods you usually have to explain what you mean to the majority with a limited palette.

Like the way the hot chilli harissa from north Africa is with items originating from a vast area called the Middle East. It's not the geography it's the ethnicity that comes to mainstream British shopping.

Tahini for me is one of the most versatile and healthy foods ever. You can make a sauce, you can add sugar or better still date syrup to make a dessert. For a local variation add yeast extract like Marmite or even miso to create a savoury cheese like topping.

When the za'atar and sumac spices appear I'll know there is a culinary revolution taking place at home. From the photo below you can see it's a regular on my table. Who needs the sunshine to go with a mezze of delights.
Mezze At Home
Link :

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nearly A Century and a Half

2013 marks the 150th Anniversary of the CWS (now known as The Co-Operative Group). No doubt there will be some sort of event or at least a booklet to mark the occasion.

The picture shewn is from the centenary year of 1963 and depicts a gentle world of shopping. The lady is nicely dressed to collect a few groceries in her wicker gondola basket and the door is held open by possibly the manager of the shop attired in his white coat.

For the year the CWS adopted the word "Centurywise" and produced posters and badges announcing such. They also produced a film which was exhibited by the numerous retail societies. Obtaining a copy in a modern digital format might prove difficult.

Also celebrating 150 years is the Football Association and they have already announced their dinners and friendly international matches with Brazil, Scotland and Ireland to mark the year. But considering it is the national game you won't find an events in your town as they don't like to leave London.

The successors of the CWS may take a more countrywide view.

Previous related posts
Under A Railway Arch
150 Years in 2013

Friday, November 9, 2012

99 Tea Retro Offer

99 tea retro style in 2012
Old Scottish Co-op 99 tea The "99 Tea" is one of the remaining own Co-Op brands when once there were once dozens. Personally I usually go for the other remaining blend called "Indian Prince".

But currently in the stores the "99" is on special offer and in what could be called an imaginary retro style package. I say imaginary because the past wasn't like this. A very early "99" is shewn below. Loose tea and with its original name of Prescription Tea No.99.

Original cost in the 1920's was 10 old pence for 4oz net weight, which in modern terms is about 4p for 11gms, and allowing for inflation is around 90p in today's values.

Whether they taste the same is probably something we'll never know unless an old packet is found in an hermetically sealed capsule somewhere. The modern tea is now Fairtrade, something that didn't exist in the age of Empire. Also it was from the Joint CWS & SCWS estates in India and Ceylon and didn't have the stronger East African teas in the mix.

I made an earlier post "Time For Tea" about "99 Tea" about the health connection..... "doctors in assessing vocal fremitus asked the patient to repeat the phrase 'ninety-nine' whilst placing the palm of the hand on the patient's chest. They probably still do."

Lots of foods and drinks claimed how easy it was to digest their wonderful product. Digestive problems, real or imaginary appear to have troubled the country from the days of first patent branded foods up until the 1940's. I'll be making a post on digestive biscuits soon to illustrate this point.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Owen, the North, the flame

Co-op and flag
Excellent post this week on The Northener Blog at The Guardian. It is entitled "When Manchester & Salford Lit The Co-op Flame".

"10,000 people gather in Manchester next week for Co-operatives United, the conference of the International Co-operative Alliance which is celebrating the UN International Year of the Co-operative. Michael Herbert looks back to the radical days of the movement in the city and neighbouring Salford."

Here is a fact from the post - the first Co-operative Congress was held in the Spread Eagle public houe on Chapel Street, Salford.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Relics from the 1970's

 Back to the 1970's. It's over 40 years ago, but sometimes when you listen to the radio it is like it never went away.

That old 45 rpm might have been digitized to mp3 so living on but other items from that era are now relics in cupboards.

The trading stamps in place of the dividend. If you asking are they worth anything? Only if someone wants to buy them, and in short no.

The little badges, about 3 cm in diameter were readily available for all sorts of advertising, propaganda and political campaigns from the 1960's onwards.

Not sure how many would have worn this old co-op badge. The cloverleaf design dates from 1968. The colour scheme doesn't make it the most attractive. It was probably given away free and some body's smart idea of low cost marketing. Again you may ask is it worth anything. Only if someone wants to buy them, and in short no.

Compare it to the iconic CND symbol available at the same time in badge form. One of the best known symbols and a design classic dating from 1958 by Gerald Holtom. It is still available to purchase.

If you have any of this ephemera don't throw it out. Fashions change, they don't make it anymore and values can go up.

Related post : Own Brand 1970's.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pic-Nic 1934

There is something charming about the picnic. Been checking out what you would have had back in the 1920's and 1930's. The CWS advert here dates from 1934 and reads like a typical salad dinner you would eat in the summer months.

Not quite the Enid Blyton "Famous Five" (written between 1942 - 1962) who would have had lashings of hard boiled eggs, tomato sandwiches, lemonade, tinned sardines, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread, radishes, Nestlé milk, ginger beer, tins of pineapple chunks, squares of chocolate....

Modern times it could be olives, hummus, fresh peaches and chilled Prosecco from a cooler box. Your mileage may differ. Tupperware boxes of salad or those triangle sandwich packs sold at petrol stations. Maybe the invented traditional of the Ploughman's Lunch.

The advert has a quaint age of innocence. It is old style ready to eat food. If you wished to recreate a 1930's picnic using some of these products then it possible to find current brand equivalents. The fruit squash drink are not yet extinct. Spotted some of those meat paste items at the local co-op. Not a prominent item but still on the shelves. Tinned fruit is a relic when fresh strawberries, albeit not very tasty strawberries, are sold in January.

But the illustration makes it all look spiffing good fun. No wet grass then. Hey, ho we'll all off to scoff  'en plein air', and play some ball games or frisbie afterwards. That's the bit when people think it is pretty smart to do throw and catch.

But the romance of the picnic is still with us, even though the weather hasn't been clement this summer.

The photograph is a colour photograph of a picnic on Stanmore Common in London, taken by R E Owen, 20 May 1929. It's from the National Media Museum which is in looks just how a picnic should with the wicker basket, rugs on the ground and possibly proper glassware...

Further reading : A brief history of the picnic.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Flooded fields Chorlton 2012

Flooded path
The River Mersey might not have flooded the fields in Chorlton for a very long time. But the heavy recent rains have made paths across the Meadows walkable only in wellington boots. Well you could wade through in regular footware and dry them later.

The picture shews the path from Brookburn Road out towards Jackson's Boat. It looks like a muddy stream. I was out collecting kindling just like local people would have done centuries ago. There is plenty of it about. Didn't get very far, and beyond the water covered path are the soggy ponds on the open grounds.

These days people buy kindling wood to create a fire. It's cleaner and quicker. I much prefer the cheaper and traditional option. I don't know the legal position on collecting fallen twigs and branches. It is probably not allowed without permission or a licence. Removing whole trees might be taken seriously by someone in authority or the land owner.

When the rains cease, and the paths dry out, which they will then I can continue the walk across to Jackson's Boat.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Co-operative Graphic Novel

As it is International Year of Co-operatives a graphic novel has been, or is about to be released with the title being "The Co-operative Revolution". I've just acquired it, so am still reading it. The thing with graphic novels is you want to dwell over the pages and take in the artwork. Try to spot any quirky little doodles in the frames. "This graphic novel from master artist Polyp illustrates the history and enduring appeal of the co-operative movement" says the press release. It does.
It has four chapters - Yesterday, Today, Always and Tomorrow. Plus you get a potted timeline of events at the end. What you need to know - it starts with the Rochdale Pioneers, it goes into spaceships to Mars. It has 80 pages in colour. Full price £5.99. Published by New Internationalist on behalf of The Co-operative Group. It's the work of Polyp, a charming and amusing chap with a distinctive drawing style. He lives in Manchester. I'm going to enjoy finishing it, just need to make some quiet reading time.

ISBN is 978178026082. More Info here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

John Shillito Medal

When the CWS celebrated its Golden Jubilee, that's 50 years from 1863 to 1913, it issued a medal which is featured here.

It's a relief portrait of John Shillito who was the President of the Co-operative Wholesale Society from 1895 to 1915. It was distributed to each delegate at the CWS shareholders’ meetings in 1913(there would be over 3,000 attending them) and to each of the 21,000 employees of the CWS. There was additional distribution to officials in the retail co-operative societies, so that the total number distributed in 1913 would be around 25,000. The medal is gold colour on bronze and weighs about 19 grams.

On the reverse side there is the logo of the CWS, a wheatsheaf flanked by a t-handle spade and a sickle. The motto is "Labor and Wait". Note the American spelling. There is a story about this logo and motto, and I need to find out more.

At the same time a large casket was issued which featured on it leading figures in the co-operative movement and illustrations of CWS premises. In the casket were samples of a range of CWS products.

John Sillito from Halifax, was then the grand old man of co-operation, he would be 81. When in his 70's he presided at the Co-op Congress at the Corn Exchange, Doncaster in 1903. He also entertained Captain Scott prior to his Antarctic Expedition. Born 19th January 1832. Died 12th February 1915 aged 83. Lived at 4 Park View, Hopwood Lane, Halifax in the year the medal was issued.

You can read about John Sillito's activities in "The Story of the CWS : Jubilee History 1913" it's at - link.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Co-Op Breakfasted

Co-op Breakfasted
Here I was thinking that Baked Beans have got expensive. Leading brands are in the 80p to just over 90p price bracket. They don't want to hit the 99p price point just yet. But in 1930 a 1lb tin of Heinz Baked Beans was advertised at six and a half old pennies - in today's values that's about £1.36.

But can do just as well with an own brand. The factors are the size of the bean and the richness of the sauce. Heinz who have over 100 years of production are the benchmark.

It's the weekend, no rushing to work, have time for a cooked breakfast. What better than baked beans on toasted crumpets. The option is mid-priced Co-op brand baked beans at 49p. But why not jazz up the sauce with some fresh cherry tomatoes, a touch of dried chilli and some black pepper. Warburtons crumpets are nearly always on special offer and work out at 10p each. The complete meal comes in at around 50 pence. It's not a comparison because I already knew what cheaper own brands taste like. But adding your own value with some judious use of other foods and spices takes the dish up a notch.

Hardy Lane Scrapbook does recipes, though you don't need a recipe to rustle up a quick breakfast. More to come with Co-op budget baked beans at a mere 29p. Can they be acceptable at that price?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Old Trams Past Hardy Lane

When the Hardy Lane store opened in 1929 the electric tram network in Manchester was at its high water mark. Most miles of track and most passengers carried. But the improved motor buses and for some routes the trolley bus would be taking over. No sooner had the network expanded and further expansions were planned then the phasing out of trams had started. Nine years later it was the bus nipping down Barlow Moor Road.

I'm not a tramways historian, but like a lot of us trams both old rattler and modern metros are a wonderful means of transport. If I'm in your city I'll be travelling on one just 'cos I can. You forget the bus journey but I recall exploring Ghent, Torino, New Orleans, and Melbourne on rails in the road. My ultimate must try is De Kusttram that runs the length of the sea front of Belgium, all 42 miles or 68 kms....maybe just a section of it.

Trams came to Chorlton in 1907 and just a single track with loops for passing. It was part of the public clamour after Withington UDC amalgamated with Manchester in November 1904. People wanted the benefits of a city which was trams, a library, eventually a swimming baths and a municipal park, and general improvements to roads, street lighting and schools. On Thursday 9th May 1907 an illuminated car heralded that a new service would commence next day. Now I'd always thought that the original terminus was at the top of Beech Road but it wasn't it was at High Lane opposite the church. Even in 1913 the trams stopped there but by that time it was a double line after road widening. It was also where five roads met so complaints about congestion and safety were raised.

If you wanted to go to Hardy Lane, Southern Cemetery and on to West Didsbury a new bus service was introduced in June 1907. Every half hour from 1300 to 2030 hours. The full journey would have been 2p and the half journey up to Christ Church, West Didsbury would have been 1p. Not cheap for an Edwardian single fare.

After the Brookbank bridge over Chorlton Brook was reconstructed and widened in 1911 then the route could have tram tracks south to Southern Cemetery.

There is a lot more to find out, isn't there ever.... After 26 years with horses (1877-1903) and 48 years with electric traction (1901-1949) the old tram era ended . In 1994 the first of the modern era Metrolink service started, in 2012 it reached Chorlton.

Photographs : copy of old postcard of Manchester Corporation tramcars. Aerial view of Barlow Moor Road in 1926. There is Oak House Farm (not Hardy House Farm which I stated incorrectly until the comment below was recived) to the left rear of the large laundry building, and a field in the foreground that became Chorlton Park. Note the two tram lines and poles to carry the wires. Courtesy of Manchester Libraries Image Collection m72048.

Further reading :
Trams Stop Here - a weblog about trams of the world.
Chorlton Trams - on Chorlton History weblog

Friday, September 14, 2012

First M&SE Co-op Premises

M&S Co-op 1859 & 1909 Got lots of photos in the archive, and it's about time some of them were published. The first premises of the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-op were rented at 168 Great Ancoats Street in Manchester in 1859. That's the little building shown as an inset.

The bigger premises are the Central Stores and Head Office on Downing Street, Ardwick and opened in 1864. Obviously the photographs were not snapped in those years, and probably date from around 1909 when the Society celebrated 50 years.

Here's a note about how the meaning of language changes. If you lived in Manchester in the years before the 1960's then M&S would refer to the Manchester & Salford and not Marks & Spencer. That famous company was often referred to as Marks & Sparks. Downing Street would mean the road in Ardwick. It was not used in the media to mean the home of the Prime Minister. They would make reference simply to No.10.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Co-op Party Exhibition

Co-Op Party Exhibition There is a small exhibition of Co-Operative Party material at the People's History Museum.

It is located in the Processional Way, which is to say in a corner on the ground floor. Worth a look before you go to the Demon Drink : Temperance exhibition.

It is on until Monday 5th November, and the museum is open 7 days a week.

"this display examines the story of the Co-operative Party; taking the visitor on a journey from its origins within the co-operative movement to the growing political power of its parliamentary members and the 1927 agreement with the Labour Party." Link.

I took numerous photographs, for this is material that you don't ofter get a chance to see. See Flickr set.

So top marks to the PHM for delving in the archives and giving the memorabilia an airing.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Early Co-operatives Ancoats

Alright it's not Chorlton, we're still in Ancoats in the 1860's which is where the M&SE Co-op Society opened in 1859. Seventy years of expansion later they reached Hardy Lane.

Classified adverts in 19th Century newspapers are full of property transactions and from these you find parcels of land up for sale and how much rent was payable. By order of the trustees under the will of the late James Thompson four lots of property in Salford, Ardwick and Ancoats in Manchester went up for auction in May 1862. One lot took my eye as there was a co-operative store on the land. Also the Indigo Street Independent Chapel, schoolroom, butchers, the Royal Hen & Chickens Brewery and twenty five cottages.  Cottages is describing back to back one up one down small terrace houses. All packed into 1,750 square yards with the River Medlock as the northern boundary. If the census was checked we could find how many souls resided in this block.

It is a small area. A mere 20 per cent of a football pitch, about two penalty areas and the semi-circle in front of it. I've seen plenty of football pitches so have this area of land fixed in my mind - Old Trafford is 1.82 acres and City's pitch 1.84 acres. This plot of land is 0.36 acres. I doubt if there was a tree, garden or blade of grass in sight.

But what was the co-operative store? It wasn't the Equitable Society, and I think it is the Industrial Society. "The society commenced operations on a small scale in 1856, in Bridge Street" - report by Mr. H. R. Bayley the Secretary, at the 7th annual tea party of the Industrial Society at the Free Trade Hall. Can't be sure which Bridge Street in Manchester that was, there were several before streets were renamed in the 1960's to stop confusion with postal addresses. He goes on to say "another store had been erected in Stockport Road during the last year at a cost of £1,020. " - Manchester Courier Wednesday 1st February 1865.

"There was an earlier Manchester and Salford Industrial Society before 1859. It had a shop at 519, Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, and one in Ardwick, with a stone beehive over the door. The beehive was still there in 1878, but over a toffee shop." George Jacob Holyoake in his "History of Co-operation" Chapter 16.

Still can't be absolutely certain. Yet all this is typical of the start of modern consumer co-operation, that began with the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. On grimy back streets, in sooty industrial cities. All this area has been swept away in slum clearance, the Mancunian Way was built nearby and a small industrial estate put in place.

Photo of Indigo Street, Gable of No. 18, m11739 taken in 1901 courtesey of Manchester City Libraries Image Collection.

Earlier post on Manchester & Salford Industrial Co-op Society - here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pioneers Film 2012

Eagerly awaiting the release of "The Rochdale Pioneers" film. The trailer is online now, and the full release date is expected to be November 2012. But being shown in selected towns in September for Co-operative Members. A

"As part of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, The Co-operative British Youth Film Academy will retell the story of The Rochdale Pioneers. Supported by The Co-operative Group and inspired by the 1944 film 'Men of Rochdale'."

Notice no top hats and massive sideburns in a still photograph taken from the trailer. That's a relief. As I pointed out in previous post - Co-Op Pageant 1944 "doesn't costume drama reflect more of our own times, its values, myths and cliches?
" It has a great picture of chaps dressing up as The Pioneers looking like they are from the cast of "Gone With The Wind" - it was a massive film released in 1939.

The Trailer - on YouTube
The Film - info, news, events.
Facebook page about the film

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Early Manchester Co-operatives

What could have been on the mind of those co-operators starting with a shop on Great Ancoats Street back in 1859 was the number previous ventures in collective enterprise that had struggled in their trading.

We know about these early co-operative stores through the writings of J.M. Ludlow (John Malcolm) who made a tour of Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1850. He was a barrister in London and a central figure in the Christian Socialists. These chaps were inspired by the co-operative producers in France and the Chartists and the most noted of them was Charles Kingsley, who wrote under the pen name of Parson's Lot and became famous with a books called "The Water Babies" and "Alton Locke".

Though J.M.Ludlow favoured producer co-operatives over consumer co-operatives his reports tracked down several Societies retailing in Manchester and Salford. G.D.H. Cole writing "The Century of Co-operation" in 1944 is a touch scathing about him thinking co-operative principles were in a few people making hats together rather than members owning shops and paying dividend.
  • Jersey Street Co-Operative Society, three stores and a bakery in Ancoats.
  • Garrett Road Industrial, a co-operative store in Miles Platting
  • Hudson Street, Salford, a co-operative store
  • Harpurhey, a new co-op society
  • Dyers' Trade Union, two stores, though he disapproved, holding them devoid of true co-operative principles
  • Central Co-operative Agency, a branch at 13 Swan Street.
  • Garden Lane, Salford, a co-op store and manufacturing with looms for some of its members.
There were others. The historian today trawls through online digitized newspapers looking for entries and finds a Chartist Co-operative Store in Hulme, or a case of embezzlement at the Flixton Co-operative and that's a small village west of Manchester near the River Irwell. The young Ludlow would be making enquiries in the terraced house districts of industrial Manchester for a small business run on co-operative principles.

In 1851 there was a Co-operative Conference in Bury in the April with 44 north of England co-ops attending, with 80 delegates, most of them from stores rather than workshops. Later in September there was a meeting of Associative Labour in Manchester with trade unionists, co-operators and sympathisers. The Rochdale Pioneers attended both meetings.

Small organisations only get their history written about if they survive long enough and grow big enough. Who knows anything about the Manchester Equitable Pioneers Co-operative attending the Bury conference? What happened to the Jersey Street Co-operative? Then the oldest in Manchester said their delegate Mr. Knight. "It started by offering 10s. shares (50p) with about 80 or 90 taken up. A capital of £400 and business of £120 weekly."

The success of the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-op wasn't assured when they started in 1859 but would have learnt that lack of capital and not attracting members would mean ultimate demise.

Photograph courtsey of Manchester Libraries Image Collection. It is Jersey Street in 1967, m10166, and looks like it hadn't changed since the start of the century. Don't know which building on Jersey Street was occupied by a co-operative store.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sanatogen Story

Late Sunday afternoon, in the Hardy Lane Co-op for some bits and bats shopping and spotted some Sanatogen wine. It had two faces (that's rows of bottles to you but in grocery school they are called faces 'cos they face the customer. Almost certain these are a new addition, albeit it might be a temporary one.

Tonic wines still enjoy some popularity. Buckfast is the most popular these days but mostly bought by those who want a cheap alcohol and caffeine hit. Wincarnis rarely seen in shops, is still available, and is one from the 19th Century. Originally back in 1881 it had meat extracts in it hence the name literally Wine-Carnis (from Latin for meat).

The display advert is from 1939, which makes it over 70 years old. Not the 50 years old as quoted all over the web. However Sanatogen as a powder in a bottle has been on sale since at least 1904. Sold by chemists a nerve tonic and pick-me-up. The active ingredient is Sodium Glycerophosphate - which in small quantities is reported to have health benefits. Mixing it with fortified British Wine (not English Wine) came later. British Wine is made from imported grape must, or grape juice concentrate and fermented here. It attracted less tax that imported wines from wine producing countries. It was thus cheaper, and its taste appealed to a British palate that liked heavy sweet sherries, ports and ginger wine - QC Cream, Enva Cream Sherry (actually the queen of Cyprus Sherry), and VP Cream are some examples.

Anyway passed on the 15% strength Sanatogen for the time being, and went for the Sainte Martha, a very quaffable Languedoc. A French red is more to my taste and the past purchases haven't failed to please.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


A long time ago there were two co-operative societies in Manchester - the Equitable that eventually came to Chorlton and Hardy Lane, and the Industrial. Whilst the Equitable went onto greater trading the Industrial went into liquidation.....

"The Society was voluntarily wound up and liquidators appointed in September 1870 following meetings of the members at their offices in Upper Medlock Street, Hulme. "
London Gazette 8th October 1870; page 4358

The Industrial was centered in Hulme, a working class district south of the centre of Manchester. In the 1840's it was fields. When Augustus Pugin built a church here 1845 with the Earl of Shrewbury's money, it was known as St. Wilfred's-in-the-fields. Ten years later it is surrounded by dense housing and thousands of inhabitants.

The Industrial started in a small way in 1856, and became an Industrial & Provident Society in 1859 with a capital of just £13, sales of £2,045 and 28 members. Humble and hopeful beginnings that grew to six grocery branches, two draperies and two butchers in 1864. Membership was then around 1,274 and sales were £27,442. Central Stores were on Upper Medlock Street, Hulme. I've been trying to piece together their history from newspaper reports of the annual meetings. Besides speeches from the Mayor of Manchester, and Ernest Jones the noted Chartist, the meetings ended with two hours of dancing. No mention of any alcohol so they might have been 'dry' occasions.

It will take some time to solve why the finances came crashing down. There maybe a clue in a court case at the Manchester County Court : Walker v. M&S Industrial Co-op Society on Wednesday 13th April 1870.  Dr. Richard Pankhurst represented the Society. Much later he married Emmeline Pankhurst, yes the famous suffragette, but she'd only be a 11 year old lass in Moss Side when this case was heard. The plaintiff thought he'd lent money for interest to the society and wanted it back. The society said he was a member and no withdrawals could be made because many other requests were being made to withdraw capital. The case was lost when the judge ruled there was insufficient documentation for him to be a shareholder.

Sales did decline and membership shrunk in 1869, the last year of reported finances...maybe it continued. I'm sure further digging will reveal more and maybe a relevant photograph.

Was there rivalry between the Equitable and the Industrial? Well both operated in different parts of Manchester and the directors of both societies attended each others annual meetings. "Though there might be emulation, there was no opposition; that there was rivalry, but it was devoid of ill-feeling" said the Chairman at the 7th annual soiree as reported by the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Wednesday 1st February 1865.
The picture above is m77988, courtesy of Manchester Libraries Image Collection and is of Wooden Bridge Street, Hulme in 1909,  Chosen because it has an atmospheric quality.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Household Hints

Couldn't resist posting this. It's the simple appealing artwork in two colours. Putting a blue frock on a blue background and still achieving depth says something about how our brains interpret two dimensions.

The handy booklet for the home was issued by the Co-operative Wholesale Society around 1937. It has 50 pages and 16.5 cms x 10 cms ( 6.5 x 4 inches in size).

Obviously aimed at the busy female homemaker who spends her day in an apron and a neckerchief that wouldn't look out of place at a Soviet young pioneers meeting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another Flood Picture

It's still raining as I type. Why not find another old flood photograph? It reminds us that flooding of the Chorlton will never be this bad again. This is one from August 1922 shewing the flood water from the River Mersey is covering the fields. I've looked for a pattern in which months had the heaviest rains to cause flooding. August features many times. So much for those halcyon glorious summers of the past. But it could easily be April, June or November. An earlier post had a picture from flooding in February 1923 which is a mere six months after this summer flooding.

Upstream from Chorlton is Northenden (a village called Northen before the 20th Century) and this story of the Mersey flooding over the years is reported in The Manchester Examiner Saturday 19th June 1847.

 "I examined the records upon a wooden post in the kitchen of the Boat House of the highest Mersey's floods since 1799. In that year the water was a yard deep in the kitchen. It was four feet six inches deep in 1840, the highest mark on the post; it was three feet and some inches on the 21st December 1837; it was three feet and some inches on the 31st August 1833. 1845 and 1828 were both years of record in the Boat House kitchen."

The rain continues to fall but at least the kitchen is dry.....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Co-op Pageant 1944

Pageant Pioneers Co-op 1944
The costume drama has always been popular in the theatre and films. Especially anything Victorian. The old Queen may have just past over in 1901 but the early cinema pioneers were shooting one reel silent movies of scenes from Dickens novels.

In 1944 the Co-operative Movement celebrated its Centenary of the Rochdale Pioneers. Given that there was a major war in progress and a shortage of materials they did a good job with events, plays, and a film. The photograph is from the Co-operative Pageant at Wembley Stadium. A group of fine young fellows are representing the Rochale Pioneers. All top hats and sideburns. Very unlikely to be historically accurate of weavers in a Lancashire industrial town. But doesn't costume drama reflect more of our own times, its values, myths and cliches?

 The display advertisement is from the Manchester Guardian in July 1944. It's on the front page, because back then the broadsheets had eight columns of typeset adverts from the personal to the latest at the cinema showings, and no sensational headlines. Lawrence du Garde Peach wrote the drama. He was a prolific writer of screenplays, theatre plays, and Ladybird books. He'd be 54 when this production was staged. Not only was it performed in Manchester it was acted out in at least another 150 locations in Britain by co-operative societies drama groups. I must try and obtain a copy of it.

Six Manchester Co-operative societies were in the performances staged at the Opera House : Manchester & Salford, Beswick, Pendleton, Failsworth, Droylsden and Blackley. They told a story of not just the Pioneers but their historical influences. The American War of Independence, the French Revolution, the Luddites, and the Chartists. It ended with the singing of "Jerusalem".

If you were dramatising the Pioneers story today it would have different historical "facts" that reflect today's hindsight. We will see this in a few months when the new remake of "Men of Rochdale" is released and we can contrast it with original 1944 film.

One a side note, the advert has John Gielgud doing five nights of "Hamlet" in the next week. A warm up before the bright lights of the West End. Maybe it wasn't so bright because of the blackout and the danger of being hit by a V2 rocket?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

CWS Puzzled

CWS Metal Puzzle
Picked this intriguing item the other day. Obviously the initials CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) took my interest. Approximately 7cm x 3cm x 0.4cm thick. It's metal, possibly steel and weighs 24 grams. Embossed into it are the words "For Quality", "Reg. Des", and "789052".

So what is it? Is it part of something larger? Puzzled, I soon found the answer. Registered Design 789052 is from 1934. It is part of a tanglement puzzle. You need at least two pieces in a puzzle and you have to separate them. It usually wastes a lot of your time to solve. Then you have to put it back together. Unfortunately the last time this puzzle was solved the other piece which was a tiny horseshoe got lost. It'll never be solved again. The chances of finding the other piece is a bit slim.

You can read all about Tanglement Puzzles, and see hundreds of photographs of them at Rob's Puzzle Page. In there is the puzzle itself, complete with the other part. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Polish of Empire

I was bidding for this vintage 1930's booklet. It had flags and maps of the British Empire. In the end I came to my sober senses and stopped. What was I going to do after skimming through 30 pages. Why, it would be more clutter in the home? How much to do want to spend on ephemera.

The first factory in Pelaw opened in 1902, and expanded to make a massive range of goods. Not just polishes. Bedding, clothing, furniture, drysaltery, leather goods and saddles, packing, preserves, printing, quilts, scales, shirts and vinegar. That's a big workforce. Long gone now.

I well remember the black shoe polish. It came in a red tin with a picture of a seal on it, that's the animal that swims in the cold seas. Many years later I visited to Newcastle and heard the correct pronunciation of Pelaw not how we'd been saying it for years. Sounds like Pilau as in the rice dish.

Back to the Empire days. Polishing was a big activity. You had to have shiny shoes, a shiny floor, gleaming brass work, spotless cutlery. Everything got dirty from the coal fired domestic life and industrial chimneys. The metals tarnished and oxidized. Today we use different materials that don't require as much polish. The towns are smokeless zones and a lot of modern everyday footwear would be ruined by shoe polish.

Related posts in this series :
Foods of the Empire

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tram Bridge Over the Mersey

New tram bridge Mersey
In four years time trams will be thundering over this bridge over the River Mersey. From road speed, that's slow, down Hardy Lane onto the Meadows and up the ramp and down again. This was the picture yesterday. No work was being done but the clatter of construction could be hear from further down the proposed line. Only a few hundred metres from the sedate footbridge at Jackson's Boat.

Other pictures

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Factory in Lowestoft

Had a 15 minute wait at the parcel office before I could collect my purchase. It's been around a few years and fortunately it is still in print. Wasn't disappointed. What are we writing about? A book called "Co-operative Pride and Capability Co-operative Wholesale Society - Canning and Preserved Food Factories - Lowestoft".

Crisp colour plates, a short accurate history, interviews with those who worked there, lots of memorabilia and old advertisements. It is a niche history but it is put into context of the national picture of CWS factories. They were ultimately sold on to other companies. Who then closed them down and sold the land off.

Well might have gone to rubble but at least we have this treasure and it is the pictures that make it. Now when you see photographs from the different eras you can usually date them from the black and white tones, and the camera lens used as Edwardian or 1920's, 40's etc. Well you can if you've seen enough archive material. So the 1989 colour views looked dated as well. Those distinctive colours of the film shot on 35mm stock. A better expert than me could probably hazard a guess at which film was used to take the photographs. You can recreate them with digital images and some editing software. Well sort of but not quite.

So after a browse it now sits out on the table for visitors and myself to dip into nostalgia for the Waveney Brand of tinned goods that used to be available in co-operative stores.

All the details are here at Coastal Publications. I purchased it direct from them because it works out a little cheaper than from that well known online bookseller, plus they will keep a bigger share of the money. For we need people to keep publishing niche history, it makes some of us happy.

The East Anglia Film Archive have some short videos available online. It's In The Can made in 1961, colour with sound is a CWS Promotional Film for Waveney tinned foods. Co-Op and Labour Fete 1930, black and white, silent is some great amateur footage captured in Ipswich.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Left Book Club Edition

I bet somewhere in Britain there is a room that has every Left Book Club publication on the shelves. The red hardback editions (1938-1948), and I have just one, and an obscure one at that. "The Smaller Democracies" 1939 by Sir Ernest Simon. Only picked it up 'cos he lived in Didsbury and a former Liberal MP for this constituency. Also a softback edition in orange (1936-1938) called "Spanish Testament" by Arthur Koestler. Original prices were 2/6d (12.5p)

This brings us on to “The Co-operative Movement in Labour Britain,” edited for the Fabian Society by Noah Barou, Ph.D. (Econ.) and published by Victor Gollancz Ltd., of London, for the Left Book Club in 1948. It's just an excuse to find a Left Book Club and a Co-Op connection.

The heydays of the Left Book Club are from its formation in 1936 and into the WWII. Unashamedly left leaning propaganda. Well you weren't going to find that "Bolshie" talk on the BBC Home Service or printed in the bourgeoisie press. Nor where you going to find them officially supported at Labour Party meetings. It was seen as a "popular front" organisation and that meant the Communist Party members would be involve. I have yet to find any local Co-Operative Guild or Co-Op Party meetings about the Left Book Club, though that doesn't mean there weren't any. There were Left Book Discussion meetings in Chorlton before WWII but not at Hardy Lane.

Not read this book as I don't have a copy nor is available online. But I'm almost tempted to obtain a second hand copy out of curiosity. Dr. N. Barou also wrote about "Co-operation in the Soviet Union" 1946, "British Trade Unions" 1947, and "Co-operative Insurance" 1936, "World Co-operation 1844-1944", plus numerous other books. Even more curious after having read Noah Barou's obituary - born 23 November 1889 Poltava, Ukraine died 5th September 1955 in London....exiled by the Tsarist regime, spoke at meetings with Trotsky, and head of the Moscow Narodny Bank in London. Though he's best remembered for his tireless work for the Jewish World Congress.

Note the "Not For Sale To The Public" on the front cover. This was part of the agreement with the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association which regulated how the way Book Clubs operated. The Left Book Club was the most successful of the 1930's political book clubs. The others Labour Book Service, Liberal Book Club and Right Book Club published titles too.

Year ago there was a second hand bookshop on Beech Road in Chorlton and they had a lot of those thin hardback Left Book Club editions. But harder to find now. If you interested try Abe Books to find second hand books and their sellers online.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Tea Warehouse

Follwing on from yesterday's post Teas of Empire II..... Tea was a joint venture by both wholesale societies. The adverts often used a heralding trumpet figure who wears an outfit just stepped out from an Alice in Wonderland story. Better pictures reveal that he has the wheatsheaf symbol on that quartered costume. I bet the image on the dark quarters is the logo of the Scottish CWS.

There is a certain irony in that there is also an illustration of the Cutty Sark. The famous tea clipper, though she spent more years carrying wool from Australia to Britain, has defied all odds and is preserved, and restored after the fire of 2007. It's at Greenwich in London. In 1930 she was anchored in Falmouth harbour having retired from sailing. However the massive tea warehouse in Salford mentioned in the text has not been was demolished some years back. As for the SS Makalla she's gone too.

The SS Makalla, 6,677 tons, was built in Port Glasgow in 1918 and sunk in the Moray Firth by German aircraft in August 1940. She was sailing in convoy. Part of the Anchor Brocklebank Line she made regular trips to India and back to North West England ports loaded with tea. Besides cargoes for the E&CWS she carried tea for the rival and well known Mazawatti Tea Company. I love that name Mazawatti. Pioneers in advertising, they refused to sell tea to multiples and co-op societies and only traded with independent grocers.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Teas of Empire II

There used to be a massive tea warehouse on the Salford side of the Ship Canal. It was opposite the Pomona Docks, the original small docks at the start of the canal. I've never been sure at what point the canal starts and the River Irwell ends.

The most striking aspect of the building was the huge neon sign of a big teapot being filled with tea leaves by a lady standing on a tall stool. The bright light of the wording said the slogan "Filling the Nation's Teapot". Well this is how I remember it in a strong red colour. Now demolished. Still trying to find a good photograph of the building.

This display advert is from 1930 and like most of that time used line drawings.

Note it is only tea from the English & Scottish CWS plantations in India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It is loose leaf tea in 4 oz (about 113 gms) packets.

Seventy odd years later we can buy Fairtrade tea, most is consumed by using tea bags, and it comes from plantations not owned by The Co-Operative being blends from East Africa, India and Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Smile Tour

Smile Tour #IYC2011
Just a picture taken in the drizzle today. The Smile Tour in that magnificant camper van has come back up north. The scene is set in the car park of Unicorn Co-Operative Grocery, Chorlton, Manchester.

Previous entries for the International Year of Co-Operatives 2012 here

Monday, July 30, 2012

Major Emporiums 1959

M&S Co-operative Emporiums
The illustration shews the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-op major stores, that is they sold clothes and household goods besides food. It dates from 1959, the centenary of the Society. Hardy Lane doesn't feature for it is only a food store.

All this has now gone. The Co-Operative still has food stores in some of those locations, some in different buildings - Burnage, Knutsford, Stretford Gorse Hill, and Didsbury Village. The headquarters is now an industrial estate. The mobile shops long ceased travelling the south Manchester estates, the milk deliveries stopped possibly as late as the 1990's. The railway line running north-south to the left is now a successful metro tram service. The other railway line north-south right side now takes you to Manchester Airport.

I was checking an old telephone directory from 1959 and it listed seven M&SE shops with a Chorlton number. The prefix was CHO, nearby Stretford was LON presumably for Longford as in the big park in the that town. It could have been used in London but wasn't.

Here is the list :
Funerals 347 Barlow Moor Road CHO 4138, still trading next to Hardy Lane store.
Coal Sidings, Albany Road CHO 4947 - now a car park for Morrisons
Grocery & Drapery, 442 Barlow Moor Road - now a computer games shop and a bookmakers
Grocery, 14 Milton Grove CHO 1052 - now a driving test centre
Grocery & Butchers, 66 Beech Road CHO 1053 - now a gift shop and a restaurant
Grocery, 90 Warwick Road South CHO 1809 - now an independent convenience store
Grocery & Butchers, 349-351 Barlow Moor Road CHO 2115 - the Hardy Lane store

I always thought the coal sidings were private coal merchants but the local co-op had coal delivered there too. The picture of those sidings is from 1960 and is being used for other goods too. What was delivered in all those drums? Courtesy of Manchester City Libraries (number M18314) and their brilliant collection of archive online images. The illustration is from Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald Jubilee Souvenir 1959.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Technical Bread

Now this is just some photograph that I happened to spot in a 1909 co-op magazine, the Manchester & Salford Herald, whilst researching something else. Well 1909 was the 50th year of the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-Op Society so there would a jubilee history published that year. So I didn't take any details of why these bakers from the M&S are posing for the photographer in the Municipal Technical College.

I'm presuming this is the college that became UMIST, and now is integrated into Manchester University. For all I know that room with white brickwork might still exist it one of the older buildings on Whitworth Street. What a fine display of craft baking buns, cobs and bloomers. The large round loaves that break into four farls look particularly good.

It's not possible to say if this was a typical bread offer at the time. It is a demonstration of skill. The co-op societies always stressed their hygienic methods and unadulterated bread. Those bad practices bedevilled the working classes from obtaining a proper loaf throughout the 19th Century. Twenty odd year later this would probably look quaint as the sliced bread revolution swept the USA and came to Britain shortly afterwards.

Notice that there is no baton shaped bread. Can't remember when the staple shape of French bread made its appearance in the supermarkets. Definitely in the early 1980's in Chorlton.

There is a good article in The Atlantic magazine : "The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread: A Brief History of Sliced Bread. Has some good pictures including an illustration of the 1928 patent for the slicing machine.
You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.