Co-operation in Bury (II.)

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Growth of the Reserve and Insurance


ONE of the most essential elements for securing confidence in a concern is that those interested in it may know that it is well prepared for emergency by the provision of a Reserve Fund.  This should always be proportionate to the risks involved.  Sometimes it is no easy matter to persuade all the members concerned that provision ought to be made in periods of prosperity for times of trouble.  Such times come in the history of all kinds of commercial undertakings.  As early as March, 1862, a small sum of £3 5s. 3½d., being a balance left after paying a dividend of 1/9 in the pound, was placed to the credit of a new Reserve Fund, and from this time the balances of profit left after paying the multiples of a penny in the pound have been handed over to this Fund.  In this manner the Reserve Fund was built up until March, 1870, when the members decided to allow interest to be added as well as the balances, and with these two sources of supply the fund quickly rose to very respectable dimensions, reaching £3,562 in June, 1878.  At this time the first misfortune overtook the Society, the sum of £3,060 being lost in a coal mining venture, and this sum was deducted from the Reserve Fund to cover the loss, leaving a balance of only £502 with which to start afresh.  Augmenting the fund again on the same principles, the sum of £856 was reached in December, 1879.  On this date another misfortune befell the Society — some defalcations taking place in the office — whereby the whole of the Reserve Fund was wiped out.  In April, 1896, the question of depreciating the shares held by the Society in the Manchester Ship Canal came up for discussion.  As a result, £1,000 was taken from the Reserve Fund to meet the decreasing value of the Shares; and just about the same time there was a fire at the Porter Street Newsroom, of which the cost (£44) was paid from the Reserve Fund.  In January, 1897, £500 was taken to meet the loss incurred by an investment in the Bury & Elton Manufacturing Company.  In October, 1898, the Fund reached the sum of £10,000 for the first time.  The only other item required from this fund has been a sum of £100 given as a donation to the British Cotton Growing Association.

    In 1877 the name was changed to “The Reserve and Insurance Fund.”  This alteration gave the Committee the opportunity of insuring any of the properties belonging to the Society in this fund from fire.  In September, 1887, appears the first item of insurance.  The continuous growth of this account gave the Committee confidence to insure many of the Societys Shops and Cottages in this way, and at the present time a fair proportion of the properties in various parts of the borough are covered by insurance, and the premiums paid to our own fund, which at the present time stands at the respectable figure of £16,144.  The sum total deducted from the profits of the trade done by the Society from its commencement to December, 1901, is £21,814, from which has been deducted the items previously stated, which reach the sum of £5,670, leaving the balance as stated at £16,144.


The Society’s Educational Work.

More Light for All.


LIGHT, Lord, more Light! cried Goethe, as he lay,
Calmly awaiting the approach of death:
Himself a light; yet, with his latest breath,
Seeking for light, light of a purer ray.
So we for Light — more Light — should ever pray;
Not merely live to grope about like moles,
But act as creatures having eyes and souls,
And seek a brighter, intellectual day.
Oh, let us then, — we of the present age,
Strive to make right triumphant ever might,
To realise the wishes of the Sage:
And out of mental darkness call up “Light!”
Truth must shine forth, fell wrong, dark error, fly,
If “Light” be still our constant cry.


THE history of Co-operation in Bury would be very incomplete if no reference were made to its Educational work.  Scarcely had the Society got settled in their own premises in Market Street, when a request was made to the Board to establish at newsroom and library.  The request was all the more remarkable because there were no funds available at the time.  That difficulty, however, was soon overcome, for we find that on October 1st, 1859, at a quarterly meeting, it was resolved: “That a Newsroom be established for the benefit of the members of this Society, to be supported out of the profits, by it levy of a half-penny per member per week; also that the newsroom be under the control of the Committee of Management until further notice.”  The resolution to levy a weekly charge on the members was found to be unworkable, and on December 3rd, 1859, it was resolved that the expenses of the newsroom be defrayed by charging 2½ percent. out of the nett profits of the Society.  This charge has never been varied, and is in force at the present time.

    A committee was appointed on January 21st, 1860, consisting of nine persons, namely — Messrs. William Addy, John Muir, Harry Grundy, John Bowen, J. H. Tyson, Thomas Blomeley, Mathias Hirst, John Lord, and John Wain.  Mr. John Lord was appointed president for the first twelve months, Mr. John Muir secretary, and Mr. Harry Grundy treasurer.  The newsroom was formed in one of the upper rooms over the grocer’s shop, and a cupboard was purchased to hold the books which were to form the library.  An appeal was also made to the members, to the effect that if any of them had any books that they could spare the Committee would be glad to receive them.  To this appeal there was a fair response, Mr. Harry Grundy being the first to present the Society with a book.

    The first report of the Library work is contained in the balance sheet for March, 1861, where the following appears:—“The Members are respectfully informed that the Library is progressing very satisfactorily in being stocked with good, useful books, numbering about 400, which will in future be delivered out to members at the following stated times — Saturday evenings from 5 to 7; and Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9.”

    The first catalogue of books, of which five hundred were printed and sold at one penny per copy, is dated 1861, and contains the titles of 520 books.

    In the second catalogue a remarkable advance, both in numbers and in variety, is shown.  It is dated 1865, and shows that the Library contained 1,720 books.  By this time additional room had to be provided for the housing of the books, and fresh arrangements and systems adopted.  The following report was read to the members at a meeting held on July 3rd, 1866:—

“The Committee of the Library and Newsroom have pleasure in availing themselves of the present opportunity to state that the Library at present contains about 2,350 hooks, 580 of which have been added during the last half-year, of such a kind as needs only to be read to be appreciated.  The Committee have still greater pleasure in making known the gratifying fact that its value is appreciated by 890 readers, whose use of it is shown in the issue of 9,747 books during the last half-year.  This the Committee regard as a compliment to the intelligence of the Society.  The Committee would still further observe that they hope to have the cards for admitting juniors (children of members) to the Library ready for delivery on the re-opening of the Library.”

(Signed) John Waterton, Chairman pro tem.

    The development of the Library has been consistent from the beginning, constant additions being made as the members desire.  The number of books on the shelves at the present time, and the sections under which they are kept, are as follows:—


No. of Volumes.

000 General Works .....................


100 Philosophy ........................


200 Religion ..............................


300 Sociology ...........................


400 Philology ...........................


500 Natural Science .....................


600 Useful Arts ........................


700 Fine Arts ...........................


800 Literature ...........................


900 History ..............................


920 Biography ...........................


823 Fiction ....,.........................




Reference Library ..................




    Mr. John Muir was the first Librarian appointed by the Committee.  He held the position of secretary, and for such services was paid £1 per quarter.  On his resigning this position in January, 1862, Mr. John Hardy took up the work, Mr. George Stockton acting as assistant.  In September, 1865, the Committee considered the time had arrived when the Library might remain open all day, and a person was appointed to devote the whole of his time to the duties.  Mr. J. H. Tyson received the appointment, and was given a salary of 18/- per week.  Mr. Tyson commenced his duties in the same month, and continued for two weeks only, when on the minutes coming before the members they were rejected, the members present refusing to listen to the appointment of a Librarian, and as a result of this vote the Education Committee tendered their resignation in a body, and it was accepted.  From that time until November 18th in the same year no Educational Board existed, the work being undertaken by the General Committee.  In November a new Educational Committee was appointed, and the work of conducting the Library was again undertaken by members of the Educational Committee until December, 1866, when another resolution was passed to open the Library all day long and appoint a Librarian.  This time the Educational Committee carried their point, and the resolution was confirmed at the ensuing quarterly meeting.  Mr. William Holt was appointed Librarian.  Mr. Holt resigned the office in January, 1869, and Mr. William Mortimer was appointed in his place.  The new Librarian remained only until April, when he resigned.  Mr. John Rigby was installed as his successor, and held office until December 27th, 1877.  Mr. E. W. B. Smith was next in order, — and held the office until March, 1881, when he was succeeded by Mrs. Nuttall, who was Librarian until June, 1883.  Mrs. Peers received the appointment in that month, and carried on the work until September, 1898, when the present Librarian (Mrs. Wilde, née Miss Greenhalgh), was appointed.


    As we have previously stated, the first Newsroom in connection with the Society was established almost immediately after the pioneers of the movement began to do business in a building which was their own.  Up to that time the luxury of newspapers and magazines had been denied to most of the working men of Bury, being beyond the means of the working people generally.  The proposition to open a newsroom, and thus bring the best current literature within reach of the members at a very small cost, was a most popular one.  The first batch of newspapers was bought and paid for from a balance of £4 16s. 6½d. left over from the tea party of the previous Christmas, and this sum the members decided should be given to the newsroom.  The sales of the papers, &c., had to take place at the close of each monthly meeting, and the purchase money paid down at the meeting.  The first sale took place on November 5th, 1859, and the purchasers, with the prices realised, were the following:—







The Times

7d. per week

Edward Shaw


Examiner & Times

2d.        »

Joseph Holmes


Manchester Guardian

2d.        »

James Shore


Preston Guardian

1½d.      »

Jabez Morris



1d.        »

James Jackson


Illustrated News

3d.        »

Geo. Bancroft



3d.        »

John Whittam


London Guardian

2d.        »

John Hall


Bury Times and Guardian

2d. per month

Robt. Austin


Liverpool Mercury

2½d. per week

John Bowen


Bolton Chronicle

1½d.      »

John Whittam


    The sales of the papers at the monthly meeting lasted only three months, after which time the Library and Newsroom Committee took the work in hand, and the sales took place quarterly in the newsroom, as at present.  The work of the Library and Newsroom Committee consisted only in the purchase and sale of papers and books for the Library.  They had no control at first over any servants, and it was not until January 24th, 1867, that further powers were given them.  On this date it was resolved: “That the Committee for the Management of the Library and Newsroom be allowed, and are hereby authorised to engage and have control over their own servants”.

    The question of having branch newsrooms had been agitating the minds of many of the members, and a deputation consisting of Messrs. John Heaton, Aaron Kay, and William Davenport, was sent to Rochdale in April, 1867, to see upon what system the management of branch newsrooms was carried on in that town, and on their report being given to the members it was deemed advisable that opportunities equal to those enjoyed at Rochdale should be given to all members of the Bury Society, by having a newsroom established at every branch as far as possible.  This principle has been carried out, and at the present time the Society has twenty newsrooms spread over every part of the Borough, in which are supplied 165 daily papers, 326 weekly papers, and 138 magazines.  There is also a ladies’ newsroom in Market Street, which was opened in May, 1896.  During the early part of this work the committee willingly volunteered their services, the only persons paid a wage being the secretary and librarian, his assistant, and the treasurer.  Votes of thanks were tendered to the other members of the committee for the services they had rendered during the quarter at each quarterly meeting.  The principle of remuneration for services rendered by the members of the committee was first recognised in June, 1865, when a reward equal to 5/- each was voted.  Since then the amount has been increased in varying stages to the present amount.


    In the early history of the educational work of the Society, classes in connection with the Bury Athenæum were being formed, and many of the members of the Society advocated the amalgamation of the two Institutions.  At one time the Library and Newsroom Committee looked with great favour on the idea of forming one great educational centre in the town, instead of having two separate and struggling organizations.  At the quarterly meeting held on November 5th, 1864, the question came before the members, and by a very large majority it was resolved that the question of joining the Newsroom and Library with those of the Athenæum could not be entertained.  The Committee were not content with this resolution, and broached the matter again.  The result was that an important memorial was got up against it and presented to the quarterly meeting held on October 7th, 1865.  At this meeting it was bluntly stated by resolution “that this Society has no connection whatever with the Bury Athenæum,” a statement which settled the matter once for all.

    In addition to carrying on the work of the Library and Newsrooms, the Committee took in hand the promotion of Lectures on various subjects.  Shortly after the passing of the Education Act of 1870, members of the Educational Committee, including the late Mr. Thomas Roberts, started classes in elementary subjects.  Classes were also organised in connection with the Science and Art Department, the City and Guilds of London Institute, and the Union of Lancashire & Cheshire Institutes.  These classes became very popular, and were well attended, rooms having to be engaged in various parts of the borough to accommodate the pupils.  The following is a Syllabus of the classes held in 1891:—


    During the Session of 1892 the Educational Committee amalgamated with the School Attendance Committee of the Corporation in so far as their classes were concerned, and on the carrying into effect of the Technical Instruction Act the Educational Committee, recognising that there was no longer the same need for independent working, generously offered to hand over to the Corporation the whole of the Society’s Classes together with the valuable apparatus which they had obtained for carrying on the work.  This offer was gratefully accepted, and thus it came about that the Corporation of Bury took in hand a work successfully initiated and carried on during many years by the Co-operators of Bury.  The Educational Board then turned their attention to the starting of Evening Continuation Classes, the lack of which was recognised as constituting a great gap in England’s educational system, and several schools in the borough were engaged.  This work also prospered.  A considerable number of students enrolled themselves and attended regularly.  The classes rendered excellent service and were always considered an unqualified success.  Eventually the Corporation of Bury undertook to commence classes of a similar nature, and not being desirous of clashing, the Educational Committee yielded these classes also to the Corporation.  But the history of Co-operation in Bury, as in some other towns, shows that Co-operators generally are in advance of the general level of public opinion in regard to educational matters, and are usually ready to supply by voluntary effort the means for advancement which a niggardly or lagging Legislature hesitates to provide.

    In February, 1892, a resolution was passed by the Educational Committee in favour of the commencement of a Bury Co-operative Quarterly Review, to be published in connection with the Balance Sheet.  In this Review an opportunity is given to the members to read what is said and done at all the meetings, together with any matter that is pertinent to the welfare of the movement.  Mr. John Collins was appointed first editor, and he held the office until December, 1895, when Mr. James Edward Wolstenholme took up the work.  Mr. Wolstenholme resigning in June, 1896, Mr. Sam Kay was appointed as his successor.  Mr. Kay carried on the work until April, 1900, when Mr. William Mitchell was appointed.  Mr. Mitchell resigned in November, 1901, and the present editor (Mr. James Clegg Hill) consented to undertake the work.  It may not be out of place at this point to state that the capital required to carry on the whole of the work has been raised by deducting 2½% from the not profits of the Society, which up to the end of the December quarter, 1904, had realized £36,604.


She wore a Wreath of Roses.”


IT is a long distance from solid Co-operative fact to the singing of a song — especially of a song bearing so romantic a title as the above, and many of our readers will ask what the song has to do with Co-operation in Bury.  Twenty years ago the song was one that Bury Co-operators would have been glad to have forgotten the existence of.  And yet it was an excellent song, and one that was always assured of a first-class reception.  How the song obtained its right to a place amongst our records we will endeavour to show.

    On November 18th, 1880, a concert was given in the Co-operative Hall, Bury, under the auspices of the Educational Board, Miss Maden being one of the singers, and Mr. E. W. B. Smith acting accompanist.  One of Miss Maden’s songs was “She wore a wreath of roses.”  Miss Maden had sung this song with great success many times before, and had sung it in the immediate neighbourhood only a few days previously.  The concert was pronounced a great success, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all present, and the last thing in the minds of promoters and artistes was that anything had been done which would find any employment for the lawyer in the near future, yet such was the case.  Within a few days after the concert writs were received for an infringement of copyright from Mr. Robt. Crossland, solicitor, Bury, acting on behalf of Mr. Harry Wall, the owner of the copyright, by Miss Maden and Mr. W. B. Smith, the former for singing and the latter for accompanying the song, “She wore a wreath of roses.”  The writs were duly handed forward to the Educational Board, who considered the claim an unjust one, and one that ought to be resented.  They placed the matter in the hands of Messrs. Anderton & Donnelly, at that time solicitors to the Society, and negotiations were entered into between that firm and Mr. Crossland, “much in the usual way.”  The result was that a bill for £125 15s. 8d. was received in August, 1883, by the Educational Board from Messrs. Anderton & Donnelly, being the cost of the infringement of the copyright, together with the charges of the two solicitors.  The receipt of this bill brought matters to a climax, and the aid of the General Board was sought.  An investigation was at once made, the result being that Mr. Kay Kay and Mr. George Yates were appointed a Sub-Committee to deal with the matter in conjunction with the Educational Board.  A special meeting of the members was held to consider the matter on September 15th, 1883, at which it was resolved that a small Committee, consisting of Messrs. Kay Key, George Yates, and Robert Crenshaw be appointed to wait on Messrs. Anderton & Donnelly, and try to settle the bill on the best terms possible.  Eventually a compromise was arrived at, and a sum of £75 was agreed upon.  It was afterwards arranged by the members that the General Board should pay one-half of the amount and the Educational Board the other half, the amount payable by the latter to be deducted from the education grant at the rate of £5 per quarter.  Thus closed an event which caused Co-operators in Bury no small amount of heart-burning at the time.


Co-operative Wholesale Society, Co-operative Union,
and Rochdale Corn Mill.


VERY early in the history of the Bury Co-operative Society and other kindred societies, a strong desire was evinced on the part of Co-operators generally to get nearer to the sources of production and so be able to prevent adulteration.  This idea the pioneers of the movement always kept well before their eyes.  The first conference held to consider the advisability of establishing the present Co-operative Wholesale Society was held on Christmas Day, 1862, in the Lecture room of the Industrial Store, Oldham.  The delegates attending the conference were very numerous.  The Bury Society sent as their delegates Messrs. Richard Sully and Thomas Slater.  After the report of the delegates had been received it was decided not to join in the new movement.  On August 11th, 1863, the Co-operative Wholesale Society was enrolled, and business was started on March 14th, 1864, the name at that time being “The North of England Co-operative Wholesale Industrial and Provident Society Limited.”  The registered office was at Liverpool.  The long name selected proved very inconvenient in actual working and on December 23rd, 1872, the present title was adopted.  At the quarterly meeting held on January 4th, 1873, the question of the Bury Society joining the C.W.S. was brought forward again, and it was decided not to call a meeting to consider it.  It is evident from the minutes, however, that the matter was kept well before the members.  The Board of Management took the question up and after an investigation extending over a period of six months they resolved, with only one dissentient, to recommend the members to join the C.W.S.  The recommendation was submitted to a special meeting held on April 16th, 1887, and after a well sustained discussion, in which the pros. and cons. were well brought out it was resolved to join.  At this time, 1887, the trade of the C.W.S. amounted to a total of £5,713,235 per annum, and its own productions to £195,010 per annum.  From the first it has paid five per cent. on its share capital, and the rate of interest on loans has varied from three to four per cent.  In the first report issued by the C.W.S., a paragraph appears which deals with the Society‘s aims.  It is there stated:—

“The object sought to be attained was to bring the producer and consumer into more immediate contact, and thus enhance the profits of co-operation by diminishing the cost of distribution.  This, we believe, can be done with the least possible risk by aggregating the whole or part of the Societies in the North of England, and buying the commodities required, with ready money in quantities sufficiently large to command the best markets.  By securing Societies against imposition in the days of their infancy and inexperience, and enabling them to purchase on more advantageous terms than the largest Societies have hitherto done, we shall ensure the healthy extension and consolidation of our movement.”

    The brief space at our command prevents our entering into any detailed statement as to the vast development of the C.W.S.  Its trade was confined to the distribution of goods until the year 1873, when the principle of production was first put into operation by the erection and completion of the Crumpsall Biscuit Works.  This work marked the completion of the chain of Co-operative development, in that it meant the undertaking of actual manufacturing.  To enumerate the long and well known list of Co-operative productive undertakings is not necessary.  Suffice it to say that a vast amount of money, all belonging to Co-operators, has been invested in this phase of the movement.  The latest productive development of the C.W.S. is the erection of a weaving shed in our own town.  This shed is capable of holding 544 looms, and there are opportunities for extensions.  The fabrics to be woven there will be Silesians, Italians, Pocketings and Domestic Cloths.  It may be interesting to our readers to know that the Society has paid in cash to the Co-operative Wholesale Society, £8,150; it has drawn out £32,000; and it has still standing to its credit, £20,699 9s. 7d.  Comment on these figures is needless; they speak for themselves.

    Our respected townsman, Mr. Thomas Killon, was elected a member of the Committee of Management of the C.W.S. in March, 1892, and still aids in the work of guiding the destinies of this vast and beneficial Institution.

    The following are the particulars of the Bury District Co-operative Society’s Share and Loan Accounts with the Co-operative Wholesale Society, Limited, from the commencement:—




Total Share &


Share Account.

Loan Account.

Loan Accounts





Cash deposited ......... 




Dividend on purchases




Share Interest .........




Loan Interest .........








Cash Withdrawn ......




Claim — Dec. 24, 1904




    The number of shares held is 1,797, and the amount paid is £8,985 0s. 0d., nothing being unpaid on the shares.  The Share Account was opened in April, 1887, and the Loan Account in June, 1887.

    These particulars show the state of the accounts in February last.

    The following are the Bury Society’s purchases from the Co-operative Wholesale Society from 1887 to 1904:—

    An idea of the immense volume of the Co-operative Wholesale Societys trade, and of the rapid strides it has made, may be gathered from the following Statement, showing (1) The Total Trade for the years 1887 (when the Bury Society joined), 1904, the last complete year; and (2), The Total Supplies from Productive Works for the same years:—

Year 1887 ...... £5,718,235
      »   1904 ...... £19,809,196
Year 1887 ...... £195,010
      »    1904 ...... £3,826,180

The Co-operative Union.

    In 1889 the Society commenced to pay an annual subscription of £20 to the Co-operative Union, Limited, which has its head office in Manchester, but previous to this time contributions of various amounts had been made.  The annual payment of this subscription entitled the Society to rank as a member of the Union, with power to send delegates to Congress and to vote in the election of the Central Board.  The Co-operative Union is an institution charged with the duty of keeping alive and diffusing a knowledge of the principles which form the life of the Co-operative movement, and giving to its active members — by advice and instruction — literary, legal, and commercial — the help they may require, that they may be better able to discharge the important work they have to do.  The Union consists of Industrial and Provident Societies, Joint Stock Companies, and other bodies corporate, and has justified its existence by the excellent results it has so far accomplished, results which are of a far-reaching character, and which vitally affect the welfare of Co-operators in all parts of the kingdom.

The Rochdale Corn Mill.

    From the first the Society has been a loyal supporter of the Rochdale Corn Mill, the origin of which was due to the very high price of flour and its low quality.  It is on record that some millers used to supply the working people with damaged corn, really unfit for human food, in order to make illicit profits; and early in the last century China clay was mixed with the flour for the same purpose.  For some years now the average cost of wheat per quarter has been under three-fourths of what the millers took for profit alone a century ago.  Owing to this adulteration, bread used to be more like sad dumplings than the bread we know to-day.  In consequence of this, it came about that in a wayside inn, over gills of home-brewed ale, a few men met and decided to grind their own flour, and then, as they said, they would know what was in it.  Their motto was — “Flour pure and wholesome.”

    The existence of mills of the stamp of the Rochdale Corn Mill has been of immense service not only to Co-operators, but to the rest of the community as well, inasmuch as it is by such means that monopoly in a staple article of food supply has been broken down in the past, and rendered practically impossible for the future.  Although sometimes asked to join in a ring to keep up the price of flour, the Co-operators who have been shareholders in such concerns have always held aloof, rightly deeming that the Co-operative principle and monopoly are antagonistic to each other, and cannot flourish side by side.


The Women’s Co-operative Guild.


The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of an unbroken thread,
Where love ennobles all.

The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells,
The Book of Life the shining record tells.

FROM its very start the Bury Co-operative Society has recognised the wisdom of allowing that portion of the community — once termed the “Basket Co-operators” — the women to wit, to have equal rights in membership.  This decision has proved a very wise one, and the stability of the Society owes a very great deal to the loyalty of the women members.  A womans name (Sarah Ann Jordan, No. 44), appears on the scene at the time the first shop was started in 1856, and since that time the doors have been thrown wide open to members’ wives or householders, and the Society has consequently always contained a very large proportion of women.  It is, therefore, little wonder that the good influences thrown into the Co-operative movement by such excellent advocates for the social advancement of women as Miss Llewellyn Davis and many others should reach the Bury Society, and although late in its formation it has since tried to give a good account of itself by rendering help in every manner possible to the development and success of the Society.

    The Bury Branch of the Guild was formed in November, 1890, its objects being “The better education of its members and the furtherance of Co-operative principles in our town.”  Its first president was Mrs. Thomas Killon, now doing good work as a member of the Bury Board of Guardians.  Under Mrs. Killon’s presidency classes of an interesting and instructive character were formed.  A room in Market Street was kindly lent to the Guild by the Educational Board, and a grant of £10 per annum was also made towards defraying the cost of the educative side of the work.  This grant was subsequently increased to £16 per annum.  In the spending of the money the members of the Guild are careful to remain loyal to the purposes for which the grants are made, and separate funds are raised by themselves for all other purposes.  Classes are formed every year, and generally a syllabus printed, which has shown the following subjects taught during the winter months:— Ambulance Work, Sick Nursing, Cookery, Laundry, Millinery, Dressmaking, Fancy Work, and Paper Flowers.  In the summer months rambles and picnics take place, many interesting places having been visited, amongst others the C.W.S. Works.  Amongst themselves they have raised a fund termed “The Helping Hand Fund,” and this is used to help cases of distress through sickness or loss of work by Co-operators.  In the diligent enquiries which precede such help they anticipated the formation of the Charity Organisation Society.  Other funds have been raised for charitable purposes for some special object, such as the Mrs. Jones Memorial Fund, the Widows and Orphans Fund (Fleetwood), and the furnishing of a bedroom in the St. Annes Co-operative Convalescent Home, for which a sum of £l6 was raised.  A number of the members of the Guild being mothers of families and active members of our Society, they have had good opportunities of judging of our needs, and as a result have made several suggestions for its improvement or development.  They were persistent in their desire to see the Society selling coal in bags, and at last their efforts were rewarded, and as a result the trade in coal has trebled in volume.

    It was owing to their powerful advocacy that a Small Savings Fund for the children of members was established, and we hope to see the day when this fund will be a great help to the Society.  With the exception of the Secretary, who receives a nominal salary, the officials of the Guild receive no remuneration for the services they render, the rest of the work being of a voluntary character.  Several of the members attend Conferences, and have been called on to deal with resolutions of an important character; and one of its members (Mrs. Thomas Rigby) was requested by the Central Committee to write a paper dealing with the question of the Half-Time System.  This she complied with, and read the paper at the Annual Congress held July, 1895, at Essex Hall, London.  The discussion that followed the reading of the paper showed that a large number of the delegates present had no idea what the Half-Time system was, but the majority of the speakers told how, though sorely pressed, they had striven to give their children an education which should fit them, physically, morally, and intellectually, to take their places as citizens of the future.  With the poet we may say —

“A sister to relieve, how exquisite the bliss.”


Employees’ hours and holidays.


IT is to the credit of the Bury Society that it has never once sought the aid of any outside agency in the control of its staff.  The Board of Management has always been elected by vote from the Society’s own members, and thus there has never been any great difference in the position of a Committeeman as a working man and the servants employed by the Society.  As working men, the members of the Committee have generally been found willing to favour reasonable hours and good conditions of labour for the employees, and the question of the hours and conditions of labour have never presented any serious difficulty to the management.  Both Committee and servant have shown a desire to be fair when questions of hours and conditions of employment have had to be discussed.  On the side of the members there has been regard to the rights and just needs of men and women who, after all, belong to their own class and share their own aspirations; and on the side of the servants the convenience of the members in purchasing has always received due consideration.

    It is not certain what were the hours in the new premises before July, 1860, but at that time the members decided to close all the shops at Two o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon; and on November 7th, 1863, it was resolved to close one hour earlier on Tuesdays, and from that time down to the present, with a few exceptions, all the shops have closed on a Tuesday afternoon at one o’clock.  In January, 1870, an alteration all round was made, the hours being reduced by closing half-an-hour earlier each night, and the hours were fixed as follows: — Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7-30; Friday, 8-30; all the branch shops to close at 8-30 on Saturday, and Market Street at nine oclock.  These conditions remained in force until August, 1892, when the question came up again for consideration.  The employees sent in a requisition for a further reduction of hours, with special reference to Saturday nights.  The requisition asked that opportunities should be given to the employees for recreation on a Saturday by reducing the hours by one and a half, and this the members agreed to accept, with the proviso that the system should be tried for six months, and at the expiration of that time the Committee should present a report as to how far the receipts from the Market Street shops had been affected.  This report was not presented till August in the following year, when the Committee showed that the takings from the Market Street Shops on Saturdays only were £1,469 less as compared with the same period in the preceding year, and that the total takings during the past six months were £2,400 less than during the corresponding six months in the preceding year.  Notwithstanding these figures the members decided to adhere to the shorter hours adopted, and also fixed 5-30 p.m. on Saturday as the time for closing the branches in the out districts.  A slight alteration and extension of hours in the Market Street and Broad Street Shops has since been arranged.  Another development took place in 1870, when all the servants were invited to supper with the Board of Management once a year, and many things were talked over having for their object the welfare of the Society.  These meetings continued until 1878, when the supper was changed to a day’s trip, each servant receiving a ticket for a day’s outing without any reduction of wages for the day.  The Stores trip, as it is called to this day, became a popular institution.  Some years later, many of the members began to consider it a reasonable matter for the shopmen and all other day servants of the Society to have a week’s holiday, without any deduction of wages.  A meeting was called to consider the matter on May 1st, 1897, but the motion was rejected by a large majority.  But the matter was not lost sight of, and kept coming up in various forms before the members, until, in May, 1903, at a large meeting, it was carried by an overwhelming majority, on the motion of the late Mr. J. F. Timpany, that all the servants employed by the Society on day wage have a week’s holiday each year, without any deduction in wages; and in the month following the employees engaged on piece work for the Society were granted a similar holiday.  Thus all the servants, in whatever capacity employed, have now a weeks holiday in each year, without any interference in their wages.


A Libeller brought to Book.


CO-OPERATORS generally fight shy of the law and the Law Courts, and very rarely go to law with outsiders, or with one another.  To this rule the Bury Society has been no exception.  Where differences of opinion exist among members, their rules provide that any question in dispute shall be settled by arbitration.  But occasionally a Society finds itself assailed from outside by men who disparage it by misrepresenting its principles.  When such misrepresentation is flagrant, the Committee are in duty bound to take legal steps to vindicate their cause.  In one case the Bury Society was called upon to do this, and the story is sufficiently interesting and instructive to be worth the telling.

    In the early part of the year 1879 a shop was opened in Rock Street, Bury, and during May the owners circulated a large number of handbills and placards containing matter of a libellous character, and calculated to damage the business of the Co-operative Society.  The handbills were distributed all over the borough, and the placards posted on a large number of the posting stations.  The attention of the Committee was directed to the matter, and in June copies of the two papers were sent to Mr. Vansittart Neal, and his advice sought.  On receiving this opinion, which was to the effect that the matter contained in the bills and placards was distinctly libellous, and likely to injure the Society in the eyes of its members, the Committee ordered proceedings to be commenced against the firm, not knowing at the time who the parties were.  But in August following a man appeared at the door of the Boardroom asking for an interview with the Committee.  He gave his name, and stated that he represented the firm named, and had come to see upon what terms the matter of the libel could be settled.  Two members of the Committee were told off to see him on the following night, and, as a result of this interview, he offered to pay the Society the sum of £25 and tender an apology, and the following minute appears on the 25th September, 1879: “That the sum of £25 and an apology tendered be accepted, and legal proceedings stayed in the matter.”

    The following is a copy of the apology tendered and accepted :—

“I —, Grocer and Tea Dealer, of Rock Street, Bury, Lancashire, hereby apologise and express my regret at the issuing of certain placards and handbills reflecting on the character, &c., of the Bury District Co-operative Provision Society, Limited, and on condition that the said Society will stay all legal proceedings, I hereby agree to pay them twenty-five pounds for expenses incurred by them in the matter; and I also promise that in future no placards or handbills shall be issued by me or my authority of the nature of the placards and handbills herein referred to, and that I will not directly or indirectly give any further trouble or annoyance to the said Bury District Co-operative Provision Society Limited.”

As witness my hand this 12th day of September, 1879.”


Co-operative Exhibition.


UNDER the presidency of Mr. Kay Kay, the Society organised an exhibition of Co-operative Productions in the early part of 1896.  This event marked a red letter day in the history of the Society.  For a considerable time the developments in this part of co-operation had been remarkable, and the results shown year by year, not only in volume but also in variety, were simply astounding, and it was with the intention of presenting an opportunity not only for our members, but also for the general public, to see what was being produced on Co-operative lines by Co-operators in all parts of the country, that the exhibition was promoted.

    The Exhibition was held in the Philips Hall, Garden Street, on May 2nd, this room being much easier of access than the Co-operative Hall, all the exhibits being on the ground floor.  It was opened by Mr. Thomas Tweddell, chairman of the Newcastle Branch of the Wholesale Society, and proved a very successful affair.  Mr. Kay Kay occupied the chair.

    In the course of an instructive address, Mr. Tweddell said that however much Co-operators might differ as to the method that ought to be adopted by Co-operators in the productive world, they were all agreed in wishing to see its development and future progress assured.  He could conceive of no better way by which that success could be attained than by holding exhibitions like that, where goods made under Co-operative conditions could be seen and comparisons instituted, and where the spirit of loyalty to Co-operative principles, upon which their success depended, might be strengthened and stimulated.  Whilst proud of the great success of the distributive phase of the movement, Mr. Tweddell said that many times he felt that the work accomplished in the productive world might and ought to be increased, and the opportunities presented to Co-operators in this direction ought to be taken advantage of to a far greater extent than it had been up to the present.  Let them look for a moment or two at the position.  They posed before the world as social reformers, as preachers of a gospel of social amelioration which had been abundantly tried, and wherever it had been tried it had given ample evidence of its power to transform the selfish and indiscriminate industries they saw around them.  They were the possessors of enormous wealth.  How to use that capital had been repeatedly asked and answered, and it had been shown that wisely and prudently employed in the development of productive effort, it would do much to improve the interests and consolidate the power of the movement, it would do much to improve the social condition of its people, and place within their reach the possibilities of self employment, to regulate and steady the productive forces of the nation, and help to prevent those fearful oscillations of supply and demand which he believed were the source of so much of the social misery that they so greatly deplored.  Distribution had been so efficiently organised by the Stores as to ensure the broadest foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of production.  Private manufacturers would tell them that their greatest difficulty was to find a steady and reliable outlet for their goods.  The Co-operative Societies had the most organised trade the world had ever seen, and in it was the widest opening for productive manufacture.  The two weaknesses were the want of loyalty on the one hand, and the want of unity on the other.  Unity was the life and essence of their movement — unity of principle, oneness of purpose, union of method, were the very foundation stones upon which Co-operation had been erected.  The want of loyalty was as widespread as it was deplorable.  No doubt they had some members hankering after the material and pecuniary advantage of their Society; and the greed for dividends only was one of the greatest curses, as it was one of the greatest delusions.  Nothing that bore the stain of blood or degradation could under any possible circumstances be cheap to the workman, and the man who passed the Co-operative shop in his search for cheapness was the father of the sweating system.  Further, Mr. Tweddell appealed to all present to give all the support they could to the Institution in the efforts being made in the direction of production.  It was with the hope that the effort they were making there might tend in some degree to remove the great obstacles from the path of Co-operation, that he had pleasure in declaring that exhibition open, and he hoped that every one who had taken part in its organization would feel that the solid interest of the Bury Stores and the movement generally had been served by their sacrifice and effort.

    A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. Tweddell for his very able address, and to Mr. Kay Kay for presiding, on the motion of Mr. Wm. Mitchell, seconded by Mr. David Farrow.

    During the afternoon the horses, carts and lorries belonging to the Society paraded the streets of the town, headed by the Bury Borough Band, the whole proceedings being a great success.


The Society’s Losses.


IT is in the highest degree improbable that a great trading concern has ever been in existence for half-a-century which has not been compelled to own to losses, as well as gains, at some period of its history.  Although in the main a record of progress and advancing prosperity, the history of the Bury Co-operative Society shows that the Society has had one or two severe blows from adverse fortune in the course of its career.  It is our purpose in the present chapter to speak of these unfortunate incidents.

Coal Mining Venture.

    In the early part of 1873 an attempt was made to organize a sufficient number of Co-operative Societies to start in the business of coal mining.  Various conferences were held, principally in Manchester, and many Societies in and about the Manchester district looked favourably on the project.  Eventually it was decided by the members attending the conference that a local pit be purchased, situate in the Wigan district and known by the name of the Bugle Horn, and on October 4th, 1873, the Bury Society decided to join in the scheme and invested £50 in the shares of the new Society.  This sum was gradually increased until, in August, 1875, the Bury Society had the sum of £2,000 standing to their credit in the United Co-operative Coal Society Limited.  This sum was further increased in February, 1876, by an investment of £1,000 as a loan to the Society; making the sum advanced £3,000.  Matters did not go well with the new venture, and fears began to be entertained of instability, and in February, 1878, the disastrous crash came, the works being finally stopped, a liquidator appointed, and the affairs wound up.  By this transaction the Bury Society lost £3,060.  The only crumb of comfort in the whole transaction — and it was nothing more than a crumb — was the receipt of the sum of £27 1s. 10d, being 6id. in the £, from the liquidator in September, 1883.  This sum was added to the Reserve Fund.  Although this was at the time a very serious matter for the Society, yet the loss caused no displacement of trade, the Reserve Fund, which stood at £3,562, being fortunately large enough to meet the loss, and to show a small balance when it had been met.

Bury & Elton Commercial Co.

    Having in the early part of the year 1866 some spare capital lying in the Bank, a desire was expressed to help the trade of the town by further investing in mills or workshops, and an application being made by the Directors of the Bury and Elton Commercial Company for a Loan on Mortgage of £8,000, this sum was lent to them in July, 1866, subject to six months’ notice on either side for each £1,000.  In January, 1872, the first sum of £1,000 was repaid to the Society, the amount being brought down to £3,000 by December, 1882, when another sum of £7,000 was advanced to the Company, making their indebtedness to the Society one of £10,000.  This sum was again reduced in a similar manner as before; but in the early part of the year 1896 the Company found itself in difficulties, and could not meet its liability to the Society of £6,000.  Several conferences were held between the Society and the mill directors, and ultimately a basis of reconstruction was arranged.  The Society suggested a re-arrangement of the mortgage, whereby they offered to sacrifice £500.  This offer was accepted by the new Company, and the name of the firm was changed to the Soho Spinning Co.  At a meeting held on December 5th, 1896, the members consented to take £500 from the Reserve Fund to meet the loss.  The mill was burned down on November 15th, 1898, and the Society had the whole amount of the remaining mortgage repaid to it.

The Manchester Ship Canal.

    The question of whether this part of Lancashire should have the advantage of a direct waterway to the sea by means of a Ship Canal found many enthusiastic supporters in the Co-operative world, and Bury was not slow to fall in line.  In 1884 the Bury Society contributed £25 towards the formation expenses of the Manchester Ship Canal.  On December 19th, 1885, it was resolved to take up fifty £10 Shares in the Canal.

    As a precautionary measure, and with a feeling that as a commercial investment there was little reason to expect any return from the Canal for a long time to come, the Committee recommended that the payment for such shares be taken from the Reserve Fund.  The proposal to take up the shares was carried almost unanimously by the members, but they declined to take the money from the Reserve Fund, and resolved that it should be taken from capital, and the investment treated on ordinary commercial lines.

    In April, 1887, a circular from the Canal was received asking for additional support, and the Board advised increasing the number of shares from 50 to 200.  On this recommendation coming before the members, a resolution was proposed to increase the shares from 50 to 500, and the amount of capital invested from £500 to £5,000.  It was pointed out from the platform that it was advisable to act with caution in the matter, but the recommendation of the Board was disregarded, and the resolution to increase the number of the shares to 500 was carried.  For a considerable time the Ship Canal Company paid interest on the capital paid in, such interest being paid out of the capital, and the Bury Society received in this manner £670.  The policy of receiving interest and paying it away as dividend, that had been taken from the principal invested was not a palatable one with our members, and as the market value of the shares rapidly decreased, and there seemed little prospect of the Canal being able to pay interest on its capital out of revenue, the question of how to make the face value of the shares fit in with the market value, came up for discussion several times.  Finally it was resolved to depreciate the shares by taking £1,000 from the Reserve Fund, and to depreciate £50 per quarter afterwards till they reached their real market value.  By this means, up to December, 1904, £2,800 had been paid away.  Co-operators are well aware, however, that serious as this loss has been from a financial point of view they have been somewhat compensated in their trade, in consequence of the opening of this new and important waterway, as it has undoubtedly had its influence in the fixing of charges of commodities in transit to Manchester and the surrounding districts.

The Abattoirs Dispute.

    No one will dispute the statement that the Bury Co-operative Society has always been a most willing and loyal ally with the acknowledged authority — the Corporation of Bury.  The carrying out of the very principles of its trade, the building of its many branches, and the erection of improved cottages, all prove conclusively that the Society has all along the line been striving to work loyally in the direction of improved dwellings and places of business, and has always lent a listening ear to the demands or recommendations of the Corporation in everything that could be shown to tend towards a healthier or better state of things.  But, notwithstanding this spirit, an unfortunate misunderstanding arose in 1897.  For a considerable time prior to that year the Society had had to consider the advisability of extending its Bakery business, which had shown some remarkable developments, with every prospect of still further expansion, and more room was required and must be had.  The work of killing the cattle in the old slaughterhouse had to be be done in a very small space, and the danger of accidents to the men was constantly being brought before the notice of the Committee.  In addition to this the pork trade was increasing, and better facilities for slaughtering were required.  With this knowledge, and with a desire to improve matters all round, the Committee purchased seven houses in Georgiana Street, for £980, and some old property in Back Market Street for £500, immediately behind what is now the Restaurant.  The whole of this property was pulled down.  Application was made to the Corporation for the passing of plans for new Slaughterhouse and Porkery on the site, leaving room for a large extension of the Bakery.  The plans were passed by the Corporation, with an intimation “that the Corporation had under consideration the erection of Public Abattoirs.”  On receiving this intimation the Committee at once asked for an interview with the Corporation.  The interview took place on September 22nd, and at that meeting the deputation were satisfied that up to then no action had been taken by the Corporation towards the erection of Public Abattoirs, no Committee having been appointed or any inquiry made into the matter.  After much negotiation with the Corporation, and many anxious meetings the Committee submitted the whole matter for consideration to the members, and on January 1st, 1898, after a long and earnest discussion, the following resolution was carried unanimously:—“That in consequence of the present slaughterhouse being inadequate for the requirements of the Society, and the urgency to increase the accommodation at the Bakery, this meeting of members instruct the Committee to proceed as early as possible with the erection of new Slaughterhouses in accordance with plans already passed by the Corporation.”

    In carrying out this resolution the Committee found great difficulty in getting in the foundations, owing to the boggy state of the land, and great expense was incurred in carrying out this part of the work.  Eventually, after experiencing and overcoming many difficulties, the buildings were completed.  Previous to the Committee commencing to use the new slaughterhouse, opportunity was given to all the members to inspect them, and a number of members took advantage of this opportunity.  The opinion was unanimous that the Society had built slaughterhouses of such a character — so well ventilated, lofty, sanitary, and adapted for the work for which they were required, besides being so near to the central premises, and thus exceedingly convenient that it was very unlikely indeed that the Corporation would venture to disturb the Society.  A licence to kill was obtained from the Corporation, and the Committee commenced using their slaughterhouses.

    But in the meantime the Corporation had also decided to build Abattoirs for the town, and the work of erection had commenced on the old Fair Ground.  The approaching completion was a very anxious time for the Committee, and everything possible was done to prevent the Society being disturbed.  Eventually the Committee received a notice from the Corporation to the effect that the Committee and officials of the Society might go and inspect the portion of the new building set apart for the Society.  No one responded to the invitation, it being considered advisable to let the Corporation work out its own plans, so far as the Society was concerned.  After a short while the buildings were completed, and the Society received notice from the Corporation on May 13th, 1903, that the new Abattoirs would be ready for occupation, and all private slaughterhouses must be closed.  At this juncture a neighbouring Co-operative Society came to the assistance of the Bury Society, and offered to lend the Committee the use of their slaughterhouse.  This offer was accepted, and for a time the Society kept out of the Public Abattoirs.  Ultimately this arrangement was found to be inconvenient, and the Society went in.

    A valuation was made by the Board of Management as to the amount of compensation to be awarded the Society by the Corporation, and seeing that the Society had had to leave the Elton slaughterhouse, and also their well-equipped premises used as a porkery in Back Market Street, £900 was considered a very reasonable sum to receive as compensation for the losses sustained, and this claim was sent in.  It was, however, ignored by the Corporation, and the amount decided upon by the Corporation as sufficient compensation was £60.  This was the only amount received by the Society.  When it is considered that a great improvement had been made by the Society in Georgiana Street and Back Market Street, and that the Society had spent large sums in carrying out the work, the loss to the Society in having such a large property thrown out of use must be very serious, and the members have considered, and still consider, that a great injustice has been done to the Society by the Corporation.


The Recreation Grounds.


IN the year 1884, the question of providing a Park or Recreation Grounds for the borough was brought prominently before the public, and a Committee, thoroughly representative in character, was appointed to select suitable grounds and devise ways and means for acquiring such grounds.  Eventually it was decided to abandon the idea of having a Public Park, and in its place it was resolved to endeavour to obtain Recreation Grounds or Playgrounds in different parts of the town.  Mr. Henry Whitehead, of Haslem Hey, generously provided a ground for the Elton district, free of cost to the Borough, and this was opened on May 29th, 1886.

    The Committee opened a subscription list for the purpose of raising funds for providing the other parts of the borough with grounds of a similar character, and land was purchased for three grounds, situate in Walmersley Road, Rochdale Road, and Manchester Road respectively.  The two first-named grounds when completed were opened by His Royal Highness the late Prince Albert Victor of Wales, KG., on July 21st, 1888; and the other by the Earl of Derby on August 30th, 1890.

    Upwards of £40,000 had been expended on the four Recreation Grounds, and the Co-operative Society on February 13th, 1886, voted the sum of £1,000, a sum which was augmented in 1889 by a contribution of £10 to help on a Bazaar held for the purpose of securing the sum required for the completion of the Recreation Grounds; and in 1896 another sum of £100 was voted to help to complete the Clarence Ground — as the ground in Walmersley Road was called after the young Prince who opened it, and who was created Duke of Clarence.  This Ground was considerably extended at that time, the extension being brought about by the handing over to the Recreation Grounds Committee of the sum of £7,550 by the Duchy of Lancaster, out of the Schofield Estate, by Command of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

    Mr. George Yates, when President of the Society in 1884, was appointed to represent the Society on the Recreation Grounds Committee.  He was accepted and was appointed Hon. Treasurer to the fund by the Recreation Grounds Committee, and also to act as Secretary to the Public Bazaar, which realised £2,500.  Mr. Yates served on the Committee for thirteen years, and when on the completion of the grounds, and on their being handed over to the Corporation of Bury, he retired, he was cordially thanked by the Council for the valuable services which he had rendered to the Committee in the acquirement of the Recreation Grounds.

    The Rochdale Road Ground was also enlarged by the generous gift of five and a half acres of land by Mr. Thomas Ormrod Openshaw, of Pimhole, the entire cost of laying out the additional land, including bowling green, gymnasiums, band stand, shelters, pavilion, &c., being defrayed by Mr. Openshaw, who, in addition, gave the sum of £5,000 to be invested with the Corporation at 4%, the interest of which was to pay for the upkeep of the Ground.

    On July 29th, 1899, the Blackford Bridge Recreation Ground, the gift of Captain John Barlow, of Wellfield, was opened.  The Grounds, complete, were handed over to the Corporation free of cost in commemoration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and as a memorial to his father, the late Alderman Abraham Barlow.


Mainly about People.

The Managers and Cashiers.


THE success of a great and unlimited principle like Co-operation depends not a little, in each particular case, on the Society’s choice of a Manager.  Up to February, 1859, no appointment of a permanent character had been made, the members of the Committee discharging the duties of Manager.  On the date named, however, the Committee considered the time had arrived when the principle of permanent officials should be recognised, and Mr. James Holden was appointed first permanent Secretary and Manager.  He held the position until June, 1864, when he was succeeded by Mr. John Hilton, under whose able management great progress was made.  In August, 1874, Mr. George Clegg, previous to that time head shopman at Rochdale Road, became Manager, and he held office till his death, which took place in May, 1886.  He was succeeded by the present Manager, Mr. William Wild, who started as a counter-boy in the Market Street shop, and who at the time of his appointment to the position of manager was head shopman at the Bell Lane Branch.  Immediately after his appointment Mr. Wild began to anticipate great developments and to prepare for them in many directions.  The Restaurant was his latest object.  His judgment has invariably proved of a sound character, as the increased trade, both in volume and variety, bears ample evidence.  Our readers will thus see that down to the present time the managers have always been chosen from within the local movement, the principle adopted being the one of promoting the Society’s own servants, rather than of bringing strangers from other places.

    The position of Chief Clerk or Cashier of a large organization like ours is no sinecure.  The work is onerous and very exacting, and in the performance of the many duties in connection with this office, it is essential that system and despatch should always prevail.  The first gentleman to hold this position, as we have seen, was Mr. James Holden, who joined the Society in its very early stages, and it is to Mr. Holden, assisted by the late Mr. T. B. Smith, that we are indebted for the drafting of the first balance sheet, which is published in this volume for perusal by the members.  Mr. Holden relinquished the position in March, 1863, when Mr. Thomas Baron Smith was appointed.  Mr. Smith did the work for six months only, when Mr. John Hilton took up the work, and continued in this office until he was appointed manager in place of Mr. Holden, who had resigned.  Mr. John Henry Brierley, one of the clerks in the office, was promoted to the vacant position, and he resigned in February, 1874.  Mr. Richard Davenport, who was appointed in his place, held the office until November, 1881.  Mr. Elias Gibson, a gentleman from Oswaldtwistle, was then engaged, but he held the office for a few weeks only; and in February, 1882, the present cashier, Mr. Edward Lonsdale, who was acting as auditor for the Society, was appointed.

    Our readers will see that Mr. Lonsdale has the pleasure of being able to say that he has held the responsible position of chief clerk and cashier in the most influential institution Bury ever had, for nearly half the time which has elapsed since it was founded.  During that long period he has served under many different Committees, and by his genial manner and uniform courtesy, no less than by his ability, he has won for himself the good opinion of all.  As the writer has abundantly proved, he is ever willing to listen to any suggestion for the improvement of any part of the Society’s system of keeping accounts, his one idea being to secure the confidence of the members, and to further the interests of the Society.

    Three prominent members of the Society have been honoured by being placed on the roll of Justices of the Peace for the borough.  The first to receive this honour was Mr. Thomas Killon, who became a magistrate in December, 1892.

    Mr. William Foulds was the next in order, his appointment being dated June 26th, 1901; then followed Mr. Kay Kay, whose commission dates from May 11th, 1903.  The movement to place Mr. Kay on the Bench was initiated and carried through by the Society, the members of which were unanimously of opinion that his services to the community had earned the honour just as they were confident that his ability would justify its bestowal.

    Several of the members have been elected to serve as Councillors for the borough, and although Co-operators at heart, and ready to render any service that they could, the welfare of the whole town has always been their first consideration.  In these public appointments these gentlemen have no doubt discovered that the experience gained in a large commercial undertaking, with ramifications extending into educational, social, and philanthropic fields, has stood them in good stead.




TO chronicle all the incidents mentioned in the minutes posted by the various Secretaries is obviously impossible within the scope of a work like this, and even to do justice to important matters, in the brief space allowed, is an exceedingly difficult task.  In this chapter we shall draw attention to one or two matters not hitherto noticed, which will doubtless be of interest to our readers.  The earliest minute still preserved in the original handwriting is dated June 8th, 1858, and reads as follows:— “That flour be reduced 2d. per score.”  A resolution of that character would no doubt be heartily welcomed at that time.  Speaking generally, the recording of the minutes by successive secretaries shows a high standard of intelligence.  The minutes are easily read and easily understood.  Occasionally one comes across a secretary who desires to record all the matters passed by his Committee in full and minute detail; in the case of another official extreme brevity plays a prominent part, with the result that there is a tendency to obscurity.  This principle of brevity may also in certain cases have ludicrous results, as the following minute of the Education Department will show:— “That we order good health for the next twelve months.”  A minute of this description will perhaps explain why so many members of the Educational Board are so well favoured, unless perchance that the minute means that the periodical “Good Health” be ordered.  In another instance the word “catalogue” seems just a little too long for the secretary to write down in full, and is contracted to “cat.”  The result of this contraction proves a little humorous in its application, for at one time early on in the history of the Society we find the Committee considering the advisability of revising their “catalogue,” and the minute reads, “That we send for a number of specimen ‘cats.’ for the Committee’s perusal;” and in yet another instance the Committee order a number of “cats.” to be laid aside.

    For some time the work done by the Committee of Management was done without fee, the only reward being a hearty vote of thanks, tendered to them at the general meetings for the services rendered during the past quarter.  In April, 1861, however, the following resolution was adopted:— “That the Committee and the Trustees be paid the sum of 15/- each for their services during the past quarter.”  This sum was augmented in January, 1865, by 8d. being allowed for the counting of the cash: another extension took place in January, 1866, when the Management Committee were allowed 9d. for each meeting and 6d. for counting the cash; and a little later on the present fee was decided upon, — viz., 1/- per meeting for each member with the exception of the Chairman and Secretary, whose fees were fixed at 1/6 each.

    On August 7th, 1858, at a monthly meeting, it was resolved: “That in consequence of large purchases being made in sugar and nothing else, we allow no cheques on sugar for the future,” and no dividend was paid on this article for many years after.  A few years later the Chairman of the Committee reported that whilst in conversation with a traveller, who wished to extend his business with the Society, he had been given a half-sovereign, and it was resolved that no further business be done with the man, and that the half-sovereign be given to the Ragged School.

    In drawing this brief history to a close, we feel that some of our readers may think that sins of omission or commission in the choice of matter dealt with, have been committed.  The intention has been to deal with facts connected with the Society, in something like the order in which they have occurred.  Every effort has been made to authenticate the statements made, and also the figures given; but although we have taken every care it is too much to expect that no mistakes have crept in.  For such shortcomings as may be discovered we ask for the indulgence of our readers.

    That the Society has prospered and developed far beyond the visions of its founders must be evident to everyone who considers that it has now 333 employees (youths and adults inclusive); that in transferring goods from one part of the town to another it keeps twenty-six horses employed; that its trade has grown from £1,805 in the year 1856 to £334,365 in the year 1904; that its share capital has developed from £338 to £160,759, and its members from 120 to 12,165 in the same period; that during this time it has tried to do its duty as a great trading concern by always remembering those who are in need of assistance, and by helping forward the good work of education; that whilst dealing justly with the principle of depreciation it has also raised a Reserve and Insurance Fund of £16,144.  Surely when all these circumstances are borne in mind we shall all be of the opinion that its success has been truly wonderful, and unparalleled indeed in the history of our town.  The erection of all its buildings has caused it to be a large rate-paying Society, and last year the poor rate alone amounted to £445; and the rates and taxes paid to the Corporation of Bury during 1904 totalled up to the sum of £712.  Not only is the Society an extensive ratepayer, but it is also a large employer of labour, the average weekly wage-bill being just over £400.

    The experience of half-a-century of Co-operation has been thrown away if it does not teach us that “a brighter morn awaits the human day, when every transfer of earth’s natural gifts shall be a commerce of good words and works.”

“Of old things all are over old,
     Of good things none are good enough,
 Well try if we can help to mould
     A happier world of better stuff.”








Statement of the “Objects” of the Society.

The earliest Rule Book we have been able to get is dated 13th December, 1860, and shows the “Objects” of the Society to be as follows:—

Rule 2.—“The objects of this Society are to purchase pure and wholesome flour, meal, &c., for its members, and to carry on in common the trade of general dealers.”

The rules were altered and are dated 21st February, 1863:—

Rule 1. — “The object of the Society is to carry on in co-union the trade or business of grocers or general dealers, both wholesale and retail.”

The next alteration took place in 1875, and the Registrars certificate is dated 21st September, 1875, the object being as follows:—

Rule 1 (Clause 2). — “The object of the Society is to carry on in common the trade or business of grocers or general dealers, both wholesale and retail, and the buying and selling of land.”

Next dated 14th August, 1877, object:—

Rule 2 (Clause 2). — “The object of the Society is to carry on the trades of grocers or general dealers, both wholesale and retail, and the buying and selling of land.

The Society may purchase, hold, sell, mortgage, rent, lease, or sub-lease lands of any tenure, and erect, pull down, repair, alter, or otherwise deal with any building thereon.”

Revised again in 1889, with important alterations:—

Rule 2 (Clause b). — “The object of the Society is to carry on the trades of builders, manufacturers of merchantable commodities, and general dealers, both wholesale and retail, and of the buying and selling of land, or any or every of them.

The Society may purchase, hold, sell, mortgage, rent, lease, or sub-lease land, and erect, pull down, repair, alter, or otherwise deal with any building thereon.”

Revised last time, March, 1904, objects show important developments:—

Rule 2 (Clause 3). — “The objects of the Society are to carry on the trades of builders, manufacturers of merchantable commodities, and general dealers (wholesale and retail), or any of them, and shall also include dealings of any description with land.

The Society shall have full powers to do all things necessary or expedient for the accomplishment of its objects, including the power to purchase, hold, sell, mortgage, rent, lease or sub-lease, exchange or surrender, lands of any tenure, and to erect, pull down, repair, alter, insure, or otherwise deal with any building thereon.”


Legislation relating to Industrial and
Provident Societies.

    By the kindness of E. W. Bradbrook, Esq., Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, we are enabled to give the following summary of past legislation affecting Industrial and Provident Societies:

The Friendly Societies Act, 1834 (4 and 5 William IV.,c.40), allowed the formation of Societies for any “purpose which is not illegal.”

The Friendly Societies Act, 1846 (9 and 10 Victoria, c. 27), allowed the establishment of Societies “for the frugal investment of the savings of the members, for better enabling them to purchase food, firing, clothes, or other necessaries, or the tools or implements of their trade or calling, or to provide for the education of their children or kindred.”

The Friendly Societies Act, 1850 (13 and 14 Victoria, c. 115), contained the like provision. The Industrial and Provident Societies’ Act, 1852 (15 and 16 Victoria, c. 31), commonly called Mr. Slaney’s Act, and founded on the report of the committee on the savings of the middle and working classes, 1850, (of which he was chairman), made further provision for such Societies.

It was amended by the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1854 (17 Victoria., c. 25), and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1856 (19 and 20 Victorian, c. 40); these Acts were consolidated and amended by the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1862 (30 and 31 Victoria, c. 117), and by the Industrial and Provident Societies’ Act, 1871 (34 and 35 Victoria, c. 80).

These Acts were consolidated and amended by the Industrial and Provident Societies’ Act, 1876 (39 and 40 Victoria, c. 45), which statute is practically re-enacted with some important amendments by the present 1893 Act.


The Society’s Jubilee.

AT a Special Meeting held on April 14th, 1904, the question of celebrating the Society’s Jubilee came up for consideration.  The matter was introduced by the Chairman (Mr. Kay Kay), and the members present evinced a desire that something should be done in honour of the anniversary.  It was decided that a celebration should be held, and a thoroughly representative Committee was appointed to draft suggestions for carrying out that object, such suggestions to be submitted for approval to a future meeting of members.

    The Committee appointed consisted of three members of the General Board, three members of the Educational Board, and six members appointed by the meeting, of whom three were to be men, and three women.  The six selected from the meeting were Messrs. Thomas Boothman, George Yates, and William Mitchell; Mrs. C. Hill, Mrs. E. Sumner, and Mrs. T. Rigby.  The General Board appointed as its representatives Messrs. David Farrow, John Auty, and Radcliffe Taylor; and the Educational Board Messrs. William Foulds, Thomas Whitworth, and James Haslam Holt.  The name of Mr. Thomas Killon was subsequently added.  Two meetings of the Committee were held, and recommendations were drawn up for approval by the members.  It was resolved, amongst other things, to invite the Womens Co-operative Guild to hold their Annual Congress in Bury in 1905.  This was approved at the May Meeting, but on being submitted to the meeting of the Guild Congress, held at Gloucester in July, it was out-voted, and Sheffield chosen instead.  The other recommendations, which were approved, were the following:—

1. That a sum not exceeding £1,000 be taken from the Reserve and Insurance Fund to defray the expenses in connection with the Jubilee celebrations.

2. That a three days’ Exhibition of Co-operative productions be held in some hall in the town — say in July next.

3. That a special donation of £300 be given to the Bury Infirmary.

4. That a brief history of the Society be compiled, and a copy presented to each member.

5. That a Children’s Field Day and Gala be held.

6. That the central premises in Knowsley Street, Stanley, Buildings, and Market Street be decorated and illuminated on Friday and Saturday, November 10th and 11th, 1905.

7. That a treat be given to all employees.

8. That a Tablet bearing the names of the founders of the Society should be erected in the Boardroom or some other suitable place.

9. That the General and Educational Boards, together with the six members appointed at a previous meeting, and Mr. Kay Kay, shall carry out the arrangements.

At a meeting of the Jubilee Committee held on September 1st, 1904, the following list of Committees was agreed to:—

1. Exhibition. — The General Board.

2. Gala. — The Educational Board, and Mesdames. Rigby, Hill, and Sumner.

3. History. — Messrs. D. Farrow, Kay Kay, George Yates, William Mitchell, J. C. Hill, J. F. Timpany, and Thomas Rigby.

4. Tablet. — Messrs. Kay Kay, George Yates, Wm. Mitchell, and Thomas Boothman.

5. Employees Treat. — General Board, and Co-opted Members, Messrs. Thomas Boothman, Kay Kay, George Yates, and William Mitchell.

6. Decorations. — The members of the Employees Treat Committee.



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