Co-operation in Bury

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First buildings erected by Bury Co-operators, Nos. 17 and 19 Market Street.


CO-OPERATION was born in Bury about the year 1850, although the present Society did not see the light of day until five years later.  The movement has increased with a rapidity which must fill every thinking man with astonishment.  It has advanced by leaps and bounds, until contemplation of what it is and what it has accomplished fills one with amazement.  Great as its achievements are, its possibilities for future usefulness are still greater, and its ultimate development can scarcely yet be foretold.

    During the past fifty years many arbitrary laws, which tended to hinder this progress, have been swept from the Statute Book, and many others, more salutary in their bearing, and having as their avowed object the encouragement of the growth of social combinations, have been enacted.

    Trade Unions, Friendly Societies, Building Societies, and other kindred organizations have sprung up all over the country, and the people of Bury have seen a fair number of such institutions established in their midst, all tending in the direction of mutual self-help amongst the people.

    Whilst we gladly welcome all institutions having these objects in view, we must give first place to the Co-operative movement, among the agencies which have wrought for improvement.  Beginning it did in a small way, and having to fight for very life against all sorts of opposition, it is found to-day occupying an impregnable position.  Philanthropists and political reformers alike are staggered at its vastness, and at the possibilities which still open out for its future developments.  Built on such a wide and safe foundation, its onward march has been regular and consistent, and we may well ask to what heights may not prudence, honesty and energy raise the superstructure.  Dangers in the future must arise from within; the strife against outward foes has been fought and won.  If Co-operators to themselves are true, the complete success of the movement, and with it the complete emancipation of the workers of this country, is assured.

    Personal selfishness and neglect of the common good alone can do much damage to the cause.  The members have now a great lever within their reach, and may look forward to the day when true brotherhood will be a real force in the world, and when all distinctions, except those of merit and high attainment in the cause of progress, shall be abolished.

    In conclusion, I beg to tender my thanks to all who have aided in the production of this book.  Especially would I mention Mr. George Yates for the loan of an interesting book on the Society, compiled from a report made by him in 1884, and containing valuable information of the working of the Society up to that date; to the History Committee for many valuable suggestions and facts; to Mr. Lonsdale, the cashier, and Mr. Wild, the manager, for their willing and efficient help in many ways; and also to the old friends still with us who were amongst the pioneers of the movement, and who seemed to enjoy recounting their early trials and victories for my benefit.


June 6th, 1905.



Title Page


Author’s Preface

Condition of the People before 1850


The General Labour Redemption Society


The Rise of our own Society


Origin of the Branches


Table showing at a glance the dates of the
Opening of Branches


Copy of the first Balance Sheet


Wellington Mill and the Bury Permanent
Co-operative Building Society


A Great Trial


Capital and Interest


Solving the Housing Problem


Growth of the Reserve and Insurance Fund


The Society’s Educational Work


”She Wore a Wreath of Roses”


The C.W.S., Co-operative Union, and Rochdale Corn Mill

The Women’s Co-operative Guild, Bury Branch


Employees’ Hours and Holidays


A Libeller Brought to Book


A Co-operative Exhibition


The Society’s Losses —

Bugle Horn, Bury & Elton Commercial Company,

Manchester Ship Canal, and the Abattoirs

The Recreation Grounds


Mainly about People: Managers and Cashiers





Statement showing List of Presidents


Summary of the Yearly Progress of the Society


Summary of the Progress every Five Years


List of Dividends Paid from June, 1856 to December, 1904

Table of Grants


Development of the “Objects” of the Society


Development of the Law permitting Co-operation


Jubilee Celebrations and List of Committees




Nos. 17 and 19, Market Street


Some Founders of the Society:—

Mr. Richard Sully (First Treasurer)


Mr. James Holden (First Permanent Secretary
and Manager, of 3, Inman Street, Bury)

Mr. Edwin Barnes, of 28, Paul Street, Bury


Mr. Thomas Clegg, of Newton Heath, Manchester



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