Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Origins of M/c and Salford Co-op

"Manchester and Salford Society.—Few are aware that there is a Sunrise store in Manchester. The great Co-operative Society of the City and Salford situated in Downing Street is of this class. Mr. Charles Wright calls it the "Acorn" store, which —owing in no mean measure to his services as its secretary—is now an Oak store. The "Acorn" was sown at 169, Great Ancoats Street, in June, 1859. It began more hopefully than most stores. It had 111 members and a capital of £289. Its sales in the first week were £32. The rent of their shop was only £13, yet its receipts for the first complete year were £7,687."
The History of Co-operation by George Jacob Holyoake - taken from Chapter 12 published 1875 and revised 1906.

George Jacob Holyoake (1817–1906), atheist and freethinker, self-proclaimed 'agitator', champion of the working class, and co-operator, was born at Birmingham on 13 April 1817. There is an excellent website of Holyoake's writings.

He classifies Co-ops in the following ways :
"Co-operative Stores may be regarded as divisible into Dark Stores, Twilight Stores, and Sunrise Stores. The "Dark" Stores are those which give no share of profits to those they employ—give credit—which keeps up the habit of indebtedness in their members—and have no education fund in their rules. The "Twilight " stores are those which have some features or others of a "Sunrise" Store, but not all. "Sunrise" Stores are those which have the cardinal features of ready-money dealing, provision for intelligence, and who give the same dividend on the wages of all their employees as they give to the consumer who purchases at their counter, If "Sunrise" Stores increase it will be owing to the Women's Guilds, when they understand what true Co-operation means."

The website starts with the work of the Chartist, poet, author, and free thinker, Gerald Massey and has writings from other contemporaries besides G.J. Holyoake.

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