Thursday, March 15, 2012

Civic Pride

The Manchester Co-operative Societies - colour advert from Manchester Guardian, 1926
Manchester Civic Week was 2nd - 9th October 1926. It featured a pageant through to Albert Square, concerts and you could visit factories in Trafford Park to see how products were produced. A full programme of pride and propaganda. The "Manchester Guardian" had a supplement and this is a colour advert from it.

This advert shows four co-operative societies that traded within the boundaries of the city - Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-operative Society, the Failsworth Industrial Society, Beswick Co-operative Society and the Blackley Co-operative Society. Just over the city limits would be the Prestwich, Eccles Provident, Pendleton, two Oldham societies, Bury, two Rochdale societies and etc.

Co-op Societies were fiercely independent, accountable to their local membership. The downside was they overlapped, and the Beswick opened stores in M&SE territory. Eventually the local strength proved to be a weakness when the multiples got their act together in the 1950's and had stores across the regions of England and with mergers and takeovers became national players.

There is all the symbolism of the sun's rays, a banner being hoisted by strong men above the Manchester coat of arms. The observant will notice that the ship only has two sails, currently it has three and in earlier 19th Century styles it came in full rigging of about 15 sales.

The quote is by George Jacob Holyoake and is a shortened version from which appears in his "The history of co-operation in England: its literature and its advocates" published in 1875.

There is some great silent newsreel footage shot of the parade into Albert Square, Manchester. Stealing the show is the visit by Sir Alan Cobham who was a celebrated air pioneer. Silent footage and copyright restricted but you can view it here.

Photo credits : Mickey Ashworth Flickr Photos

George Jacob Holyoake's book is in the Internet Archive. The quote is on page 5

1 comment:

felix said...

My mother used to teach in Beswick during the war - a very poor area. Any idea where this photo is precisely:
I just snapped it passing through...

Thanks. SG.

You can email : coop AT with any information that will help in the making of this history.