History of the Stalybridge Co-op (III.)

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IN February, 1894, the writer was appointed secretary in succession to Mr. J. R. Jackson, who had held the office since 1880.  The new secretary's business career had been entirely with the society, first as check boy, then successively as grocery assistant, clerk, assistant secretary and treasurer, until, on the lamented death of his chief, the committee showed their confidence by appointing him to the vacancy.

    Mr. J. B. Mason, the present general manager, was appointed on the 27th March, 1895, in succession to Mr. J. Mellor, who had been manager since 1876.  Mr. Mason seemed from the first to have a conviction that everything depended on the turnover being kept up or increased.  He set himself to augment it, and to his management is largely due the fact that the sales, which were £56,300 during a year immediately preceding his coming, have reached a total, imposing for a town of the size and with the population of Stalybridge, of £130,000, an increase of no less than 130 per cent in fifteen years.  Whilst this increase has been making, the remuneration of the staff has not been overlooked.  Substantial advances of wages have been made and the standard of efficiency has been raised.  There was a visit of members to the Balloon Street premises of the Co-operative Wholesale Society on Saturday, 30th March, 1895.  The cost to each visitor, including railway fare and tea, was 1s. 6d.  Six hundred persons went; they were conducted over the premises in small parties, and tea was served by the Wholesale Society.

    On the 24th August of the same year there was an excursion to Alderley Edge, approximately 600 persons spending a very enjoyable day.  Two trains were run, and the Ancient Shepherds' Reed Band accompanied the party.  The trip was so popular that it was repeated on the 20th June, 1896.  On this occasion the Stalybridge Old Band was engaged, and 454 adults and 55 children's fares were paid.

    Another excursion in 1896 was to Hebden Bridge and Hardcastle Crags on the 22nd August.  Tea was served by Hebden Bridge Society, and the accommodation was taxed to the utmost, the number of people who attended being nearly 1,000.  There were other excursions in the 'nineties, including one to Buxton in 1897, and another to Belle Vue in 1898.  In connection with the latter, there was given a guarantee of 600 persons to tea.

    From 1894 to 1899 the committee arranged concerts rather more freely.  In addition to the annual gathering of members, there were concerts at the Oddfellows' Hall, Millbrook School, and other places.  In September, 1895, and for several years, the theatre was hired for one evening, and there were some very large audiences.  Popular prices were charged, varying from 1d. to 3d., with a small number of seats in the dress circle and stalls of the theatre at 1s.  Mr. Charles Parker's Eolian Opera Company, of Rochdale, was booked for several of the large concerts.  For the annual soirιe, held March 5th, 1898, the Stalybridge Harmonic Society, with a band and chorus of 100 performers, was booked.

    The electric lighting installation was extended at the end of 1895 by the Lancashire Electrical Engineering Company, of Ashton-under-Lyne.  A new and larger dynamo, to light about 100 16-c.p. lamps, was put in; the premises were re-wired; and early the following year we had electric light in the office, boardroom, and grocery for the first time.  The expenditure was a little over £200, and it was entirely written off the capital account from the profits of two quarters.

    Cheetham Hill Road property, consisting of 23 houses and a shop, was bought in January, 1896; seven houses in Buckley Street were purchased in October, 1897; Lord Street land was bought in July, 1897, and the erection of 15 houses thereon commenced early in 1898 by Mr. T. G. Shaw, with Mr. Geo. Rowbottom as architect; and in August, 1898, Mr. Tim Bradbury's tender for the erection of seven houses in Wakefield Road, Heyrod, was accepted, also under the superintendence of Mr. Rowbottom.  In 1897 additional stables were built in the yard off Booth Street by Mr. A. Chorlton.

    The building rules were adopted in 1897.  Previously members could borrow money for building purposes under the general rules, but the special building rules provided for the advance by the society of a larger proportion of the purchase money, and in other ways have been conducive to a greater number of members becoming owners of the houses they occupy.



    A subscription at the rate of 1d. per member per annum towards the maintenance of a children's cot in the Ashton District Infirmary was unanimously passed by the members in 1897.  The cot is still maintained by Ashton, Stalybridge, and other neighbouring societies, and a good work is being done.

    The same year there was a grant of £50 to an Indian Famine Fund.  A similar grant was made three years later.  The Co-operative Wholesale Society gave a donation of £1,000 to the 1897 fund, an action that our quarterly meeting approved.

    Distress funds were somewhat numerous during the six years 1893 to 1898.  The distribution of 1893 has been referred to.  At quarterly meetings held January and April, 1896, there were appeals on behalf of the workpeople of Messrs. Adshead's and Messrs. Wilkinson's mills, and payments amounting to £69 were made.  In November, 1897, a special meeting of members voted a sum of £100 as a donation to a local fund to aid people affected by an engineers' lockout, the payment to be spread over five weeks.  The society was also asked to quote for a tea to be provided for the children of the engineers; 4d. per head was quoted, and the use of the hall granted for the 8th January, 1898.  The Amalgamated Society of Engineers' Ashton, Stalybridge, Hyde and District Lockout Committee wrote tendering hearty thanks for the manner in which the children had been entertained, and for what they described as not the first generous action on the part of the society.  Another appeal not made in vain was on behalf of a West of Ireland distress fund, raised locally, a contribution of £25 being made by a special meeting of members held 27th April, 1898.  The small savings bank was established in March, 1898.  It has been an incentive to thrift on the part of the children of members.  There is now £4,725 to the credit of depositors, a very large proportion of whom are children.

    On Saturday, 22nd April, 1899, there was opened a three days' exhibition of articles produced by the Co-operative Wholesale and other productive societies, and the Castle Hall branch store was opened.  His Worship the Mayor, Alderman Norman, performed the ceremony of opening the exhibition, and Mr. G. R. Patten, president of the society, discharged the function at the new premises.

    At the exhibition there was a large attendance, the assembly-room of the Town Hall being crowded.  Mr. Patten presided, and was supported by the Mayor; Messrs. T. Knott, S. Knight, J. T. Bate, J. Allen, W. H. Kenyon, W. Wardle, E. P. Owens, and J. Heap, committee; J. H. Hinchliffe, secretary; J. B. Mason, manager; W. Thompson, treasurer; S. Hall and D. Holt, auditors; John Fawley, A. Hopwood, T. Beard; Geo. Rowbottom, architect of the new premises; Mr. F. Thompson, of Messrs. Buckley, Miller, and Thompson, solicitors to the society; Mr. W. Lander, of the Co-operative Wholesale Society; and delegates from neighbouring societies.


    The Chairman said it gave him great pleasure to preside on that occasion, and to know that every article displayed in the hall had been produced under good conditions of labour, with a fair day's wages for a fair day's work.  Co-operative production was cutting away one of the greatest curses of the country by its effect upon the sweating dens, where people were working early and late in insanitary workshops for a mere pittance.  In doing that the co-operative system had rendered an important service to the public, and such an exhibition as they saw before them would in its results be of lasting importance.  He would quote the words of Mr. Holyoake, who said: "Co-operation supplements political economy by organising the distribution of wealth.  It touches no man's fortune, it seeks no plunder, it causes no disturbance in society; it gives no trouble to statesmen, it enters into no secret associations, it contemplates no violence, it subverts no order, it envies no dignity; it asks no favour, it keeps no terms with the idle, and it breaks no faith with the industrious; it means self-help, self-dependence, and such share of the common competence as labour shall earn, or thought can win, and these it intends to have."  In the co-operative movement there were distributive and productive departments.  The latter had not the advantage of the early start which the former had enjoyed, but to prove that there had been a great advance made he would give them some figures showing the progress recorded from 1883.  In that year there were 15 societies, in 1893 there were 108, and in 1898 no fewer than 169.  The sales of the 15 societies in 1883 amounted to £160,751, in 1893 the sales of the 108 were £1,292,668, and in 1897 the results of the 169 societies' operations came to £2,713,436.  The capital of the societies in 1883 was £103,436, in 1893 £639,884, and in 1897 no less than £1,180,906.  The figures he had given showed an increase of about fourteen fold in the same number of years.

    He then introduced Alderman Norman, who had a cordial reception.  He said he was pleased to see such a large gathering at the inauguration of the first exhibition of the Stalybridge Co-operative Society.  It was a proof that the efforts of the committee were appreciated by the members.  He had no doubt many members of the society and many of the public would attend to view the numerous articles so tastefully displayed.  He looked upon it as his duty as Mayor of the borough to assist in any movement for the benefit of the people of the town.  He had been very cosmopolitan.  It had not mattered to him what class of politics or what sect, if the idea had been good and for the benefit of the inhabitants he had joined with it.  The co-operative society of Stalybridge was strong and powerful, and the report before him showed that they were very successful.  The sales during the past twelve months had been £84,705, and the carrying on of business with such a turnover meant industry and effort on the part of the committee for a nominal payment.  Not only had the turnover been large, but so had the profit — £13,000 on £84,000.  If such progress could be kept up he should expect, in the course of a few years, that the society would do a little more in aid of the charitable institutions of the town.  The membership of the society was over 3,000, and represented some 15,000 persons, a large proportion of the inhabitants of the town.  The co-operative movement nowadays touched almost every branch of trade, and he understood the opening of the Castle Hall Branch would make the sixth connected with the Stalybridge Society.  Amongst the departments of the society he noticed they had one which dealt with the building or buying of houses by the members.  The Government was bringing in a Bill by which municipal authorities would be able to advance money to any person on suitable security for the purchase or erection of his own dwelling.  It might tell somewhat against co-operative societies, but personally he did not care which way it went, so long as he could see people living in their own houses, because he believed that the more people lived in their own houses the better they would know their responsibilities, and the better it would be for the sanitary and moral arrangements of the town.  (Hear, hear.)  He had great pleasure in declaring the exhibition open.  (Applause.)

    Mr. J. T. Bate proposed a vote of thanks to Alderman Norman.  During the past 15 months, he said, the building contracts let by the society amounted to about £10,000, all to Stalybridge contractors.  The society employed 86 persons, and paid wages which averaged £1. 1s. per week all round, a sum which he thought was very good when they considered the number of young persons employed.

    Mr. W. Wardle seconded, and Mr. W. Lander supported the motion, both gentlemen speaking of the benefits conferred by the co-operative societies of the country.  On the proposition of Mr. J. Fawley, seconded by Mr. Hopwood, thanks were given to Mr. Patten for his services in the chair.  During the three days the exhibition was open there was an excellent programme of music by an orchestral band, conducted by Mr. T. Cheetham, with Mr. J. Hulme as leader.

    The Stalybridge Reporter of April 29th, 1899, had the following comments:—

The Stalybridge Co-operative Society is to be complimented upon the success which attended the exhibition of co-operative productions, and upon the magnificent stores erected in Kay Street.  During the time the exhibition was open some thousands of people visited it.  After the opening of the exhibition on Saturday, the officials of the society, together with a number of members, proceeded to Kay Street for the opening of the Castle Hall branch store.  Mr. John Heap called upon Mr. Geo. Rowbottom, the architect, who presented a gold key to Mr. G. R. Patten, president.  Mr. Patten complimented Mr. Rowbottom and the contractors (Messrs. Shuttleworth Brothers) for the admirable manner in which they had carried out the work.  He returned thanks for the gift, and observed that they had erected those new premises on account of the steady progress the society had made during the past four years.  The inscription on the key was as follows:—"Presented to George Patten, Esq., of Heyrod, at the opening of the Castle Hall Branch of the Stalybridge Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd., George Rowbottom, Esq., architect, April, 1899."  The premises were then inspected, and afterwards tea was served in the society's hall.

The following description was given:—

The new building consists of a hue grocer's shop, with a flour store behind, a butcher's shop, and two dwelling houses.  The grocer‘s shop is entered at the angle of Brierley Street and Kay Street, and is fitted up with all the latest improvements.  The whole of the interior of the butcher's shop is faced with opalite treated in various shades of colour, and presents a beautiful appearance.  The building is arranged to suit the special needs of the site.  The design is treated in a free, classical manner, the walls being laced with Accrington bricks, with dressings of polished Yorkshire stone.  The work was carried out by Messrs. Shuttleworth Brothers, the sub-contractors being Messrs. Myles and Warner (brickwork), Mr. T. G. Shaw (joiners' work), Messrs. Pickles Brothers (slating), Messrs. W. H. Whitehead and Sons (plumbing and painting), and Messrs. Mellor and Walker (plastering).

    The same year (1899) the telephone was installed, the society becoming a subscriber to the National Telephone Company, and having all the branches and Central put in communication with each other by means of private lines.

    Efforts in the direction of an education department had not achieved so much as those of some other societies.  Newsrooms had been opened, and after a brief spell closed, and little or nothing had been attempted in the formation of classes such as are carried on successfully by many societies.  In 1899 a small grant for educational purposes was used in another manner, a sum of £25 being handed over to the Stalybridge Technical Instruction Committee.  To form a connecting link between elementary and continuation classes there had been offered free admission to the technical school to a certain number of children attending day and evening classes, limited to grant-earning classes.  The society's grant was used to extend to commercial classes what was already done for the others, the subjects specially named for encouragement being cotton-spinning, shorthand, book-keeping, typewriting, dressmaking, millinery, and cookery.  The grant has been repeated yearly.  The principal of the school reported in 1906 that by means of the grant 104 free scholarships had been awarded to students who had acquitted themselves well in the various examinations, and, in addition to that, 93 scholarships had been granted to pupils who were entering the school for the first time.  Any pupil, he said, of any promise, who worked and had the necessary ability, could by means of the grant obtain free admission and pass through the various stages of the subject free of cost.  The scholarships were thoroughly appreciated by the students, and had an excellent effect on their attention and application to their studies.

    A fund to aid the dependents of army reservists who had gone to the front in the South African War was raised in the town in 1899.  In November the members voted a sum of £50.  In addition to this there was granted to the wife, children, or dependents of each member who had been called up for active service goods to the value of 10s. per week, except where they were otherwise provided for.  Members of the committee met to receive applications.  From November, 1899, to September quarter, 1902, when the last of the reservists returned from the front, the dependents of nine men received £376, and there was evidence from the men themselves that great good had been done by the timely help.  Mr. W. Wardle was a member of the War Fund Committee for the town.

    In January, 1901, the members passed a contribution of £5 to the volunteers — now territorial force — prize fund, a contribution which has been repeated yearly to date.

    In their report of June, 1900, the committee expressed their deep regret at the death, which occurred on the 2nd May, of Mr. John Heap.  Mr. Heap had been officially connected with the society for the long period of 27 years, and was a member of the Board until his death.




CHEETHAM Hill Road Branch, No. 7, was opened 1900.  Fully eight years before there had been a proposal to open a branch store in or near Lodge Lane, Dukinfield, the committee agreeing to recommend such a scheme.  It did not go forward, however, until October, 1898, when the members decided that it should be opened in Cheetham Hill Road.  In May, 1899, the tender of Messrs. Saxon Brothers was accepted, and soon work was commenced, with Mr. Geo. Rowbottom as architect.  The branch was opened February 19th, 1900, with Mr. W. Broadbent as branch manager.  During the three weeks to the end of March quarter the sales were £213, and the first complete quarter (June, 1900) they were £1,013.

    In January, 1901, a deputation, which included the writer, visited Farnworth, where the "Climax" check system, as at present in operation at Stalybridge, was originated.  A report to a special meeting of members was given on February 6th; the system was adopted, and on the 11th March was introduced in the shops.  In September the same year Mr. Albert Shaw was appointed to take charge of the check office.  He was a man who knew exactly what was required to ensure the successful operation of the system, and he is still conducting very efficiently that important department of the office.


    A resolution of the committee of the 14th June, 1901, will be appreciated by all trade-unionists.  It was to the effect that no work would in future be given to any tradesman who did not comply with the rules and regulations of his trade society.

    In June quarter, 1901, the society commenced to act as agent to Messrs. Cowan and Sons, the eminent optologists, of Manchester.  Since that date many members have had the advantage of the best possible advice from Messrs. Cowan in the selection of spectacles, eyeglasses, artificial eyes, &c.

    The same year, at the October quarterly meeting, the present annual subscription of £10 to the Manchester Royal Infirmary was passed.

    A year later the annual subscription of £2 to the Manchester Children's Hospital at Pendlebury was fixed.

    A donation of £5 to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had been made yearly for some eight years, and another, similar in amount, to the Stalybridge Sick Nursing Society since 1899.

    The children's gala was inaugurated in 1901, the first being held August 24th.

    The removal of tailoring to a front position in Melbourne Street six years before had been so advantageous to that department that it was thought when tailoring was removed to the larger premises in Grosvenor Square the shop vacated could be utilised to good purpose for millinery.  Miss Bruce was engaged in August, 1901, and on the 3rd October millinery was taken into Melbourne Street under her management.  A very smart millinery business was done there.  There were disadvantages, however, in drapery and millinery being so far apart, and some four years later the drapery premises were partly reconstructed internally, and millinery was again removed to its present position in Back Grosvenor Street.

    Six figures of sales were reached for the first time in 1901, the total being £105,242, £6,947 over that of 1900 and the highest then attained.  The dividend to members was £15,591, and interest on their shares £2,024.  One hundred and three persons were employed.  Seven years before the wages paid to productive workers in millinery, dressmaking, tailoring, and boot-making totalled £600; in 1901 the amount was £1,539, an increase of 156 per cent.

    The committee referred with sorrow in their report of September, 1902, to the death of Mr. Samuel Knight, which occurred on the 16th September.  For thirteen years at least they had known Mr. Knight as an earnest co-operator and a conscientious man, his connection with the Board dating back to 1889.

    In this year a small building off Robinson Street, rented for the purposes of an abattoir, was given up, and the existing commodious premises at the rear of Buckley Street property were built by Messrs. W. Storrs, Sons and Co.

    Mount Pleasant Branch was extended backward by Messrs. Shuttleworth Brothers.

    A defence fund, for the purpose of counteracting the despicable boycotting tactics of certain traders in St. Helens and other towns was raised at this time by the Co-operative Union.  A special meeting of members held Wednesday, October 8th, 1902, unanimously voted a sum of £100.  It was suggested that for the movement there was nothing to fear, the boycott having the effect eventually of increasing the membership and turnover of the societies attacked; but that there should be a contribution to the fund for the sake of individual co-operators who had been dismissed from their employment and in other ways victimised.  The directors of the Co-operative Wholesale Society had proposed to guarantee a sum of £50,000.  The proposal was approved by the societies, and the fund of £100,000 desired by the Union was very soon guaranteed.  There is still a defence committee of the Union prepared to take action if required.  Four calls upon the societies have been made, in proportion to the amounts guaranteed, amounting together to 6 per cent of the fund.  Thus Stalybridge Society has been called upon for £6 only, and there is still available, nearly seven years after the raising of the fund, a sum of £94,000.

    In March, 1903, Mr. J. B. Mason, general manager to the society, was nominated as the society's representative on the Education Committee of the borough, a position he still holds.

    An excursion to London, joint with Ashton Society, was run this year, leaving Stalybridge on Whit-Friday night and returning Whit-Saturday night.  The inclusive charge for fare, breakfast, tea, and some six hours' driving was 17s. 6d. each person.  Breakfast was served by the Co-operative Wholesale Society's London Branch, and the arrangements for rail journey, tea, and drive were made by Messrs. Dean and Dawson.  Stalybridge sent 110 passengers; including those from Ashton, there were 300.

    In August, 1903, the committee had to regret the loss by death of another colleague, Mr. William Hall, who died on the 3rd.  He was a man, they said, of long experience in the movement, having been elected to the Board so long before as 1876.

    The shortage of American cotton was responsible for a decrease in the turnover, the first for nine years, in 1903.  The total sales were £107,671, compared with £100,030 in 1902.  A hope was expressed that the great work of the British Cotton Growing Association would meet with success.  A contribution of £50 to the funds of the association was passed by the members at their January, 1904, meeting.

    The North-Western Co-operative Convalescent Homes Association was registered about this time, and in January, 1904, the members decided to apply for 85 £1 shares.  The shares are not withdrawable, and do not bear interest.  There are two homes, one at Blackpool and one at Otley in Yorkshire.  A good number of Stalybridge members have had residence at the homes as convalescents and visitors, and all who have reported have testified to the excellence of the arrangements.  Another convalescent home which many members have utilised to advantage is owned by the Co-operative Wholesale Society and situated at Roden, near Shrewsbury.

    At the beginning of 1904 another fund for the relief of distress in the borough was raised, on this occasion by the Mayor.  The committee made a grant of £10.  On April 6th the members confirmed the action and voted a further sum of £40, to be paid as the committee thought fit.  It appears that the society was not called upon for the full amount, the fund being closed when £30 had been paid.



    The annual meeting, April, 1904, resolved that delegates to meetings of societies or companies of which the society was a shareholder be appointed partly by the committee and partly by the members at annual meetings, and that they report to quarterly meetings.  The delegates under this arrangement are now Messrs. James Harrison, Geo. Heathcote, A. Longden (one of the joint jubilee secretaries), and F. Nash.

    Until 1905 there had been elected as treasurer, with the exception of about one year, 1893 to 1894, one not on the permanent staff.  Mr. John Ridgway has been referred to as the holder of the office.  He was followed by Mr. J. B. W. Buckley in 1885, then came Mr. Wm. Backhurst in 1888, and the writer, who was on the staff, from 1893 to 1894, and who relinquished the office on his appointment to the secretaryship.  Mr. Wm. Thompson followed in 1894.  The duties were very conscientiously performed by Mr. Thompson for some eleven years, until April, 1905, when he retired, and it was arranged that the work should in future be undertaken by one of the office staff.  Mr. A. E. Jackson, then chief clerk, was the first to take office under the new arrangement, and he held it until he left the society's service in 1907, when he was appointed secretary to Fleetwood Society.  He was succeeded by Mr. Edwin Wright, the present cashier.

    The Co-operative Sundries Manufacturing Society Limited, of Droylsden, elected Mr. John Fawley, our present chairman, at a meeting of shareholders held March, 1905, to the seat he still holds on the board of directors.

    The same quarter 100 £1 shares of the Co-operative Printing Society Limited were taken up.

    On Whit-Saturday, June 17th, 1905, Ashton, Stalybridge, and Hyde societies ran another joint excursion, conducted by Messrs. Dean and Dawson.  On this occasion it was to Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, and the arrangements included a drive to Warwick and Leamington, with breakfast at Stratford, and tea after the drive.  The inclusive charge for fare, drive, breakfast, and tea was 11s. 3d.  There were 78 passengers from Stalybridge, 43 from Hyde, and 150 from Ashton.

    The Star (Oldham) and Rochdale corn mills were taken over by the Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1906.  There was a small loss on realisation of the Rochdale shares, but the Star Mill had been so prosperous that there was a substantial profit on the whole.  The amount at credit of our share account in the books of the Rochdale Corn Mill Society was £412, and the shares realised £364; the Star Corn Millers' Society had £503 to our credit as shares, which brought in £909.  Thus there was a net profit on the two lots of shares of £358, which was added to the reserve fund.  In April, 1906, the members discussed a proposal to take up shares of the Premier Mills Limited.  Three years before there had been a suggestion that shares of the Victor Mill Limited should be applied for, but it was negatived.  Of the Premier, 1,000 £5 shares were taken up, and the society nominated Mr. Thomas Knott for the board of directors of the company.  He remained on the directorate until his death in October, 1908, when he was succeeded by Mr. R. Firth, who is still in office.

    Electric motors for hoisting, coffee-grinding, &c., and electric irons for dressmakers' use, were introduced in 1906.  The latter were not a great success, and their use was discontinued in 1909, but the motors are still in use.  Current is taken, not from the society's dynamo, but from the Tramways Board.

    Another development in a small way in 1906 was the introduction of a Harrison knitting machine in drapery.

    At the annual meeting in April, 1906, Mr. J. T. Bate resigned his seat on the Board in consequence of his appointment as manager of the Roy Mill, Royton.  The committee expressed their regret at the loss of his services, and said their hearty good wishes would go with him.

    In November the same year Mr. William Wardle, the society's president, was appointed to the magisterial bench of the borough.

    A book-keeping class, open to the staffs of all departments, was commenced in earnest in October, 1906, the committee granting the use of the hall.  Mr. A. E. Jackson was teacher, and he had students of both sexes.  At the end of the term an examination paper was set by the writer, and several students acquitted themselves well.  They showed their appreciation of Mr. Jackson's services by a presentation.

    Millinery passed into the hands of its present head in 1906.  Miss Bruce was followed by Miss Hollinshead, and on the retirement of the latter in 1906, Miss Firth, who still controls the department successfully, was appointed to take charge of the workroom, with Miss R. Roberts responsible for the showroom and sales.

    Dressmaking, too, passed under new management the same year.  Miss Lawton was succeeded by Miss Leach in 1902; then followed Miss Schofield, March, 1904; Miss Wood, March, 1906; and finally the indefatigable Miss S. Holt, who is still in charge.

    The present rule as to interest on share capital was passed by the members January 2nd, 1907.  The matter had been many times discussed.  As far back as April, 1885, Mr. James Bamforth moved that the rate of interest be reduced from 5 to 4 per cent.  In July, 1886, the minimum quarter's trade of a member to secure the full rate of interest, still 5 per cent, was fixed at £2, the rate to be 2½ per cent to members not complying with the rule as to trade.  In October, 1893, there was a motion to the effect that a member trading to the extent of £2 a quarter be paid 5 per cent on £10, £3 trade 5 per cent on £15, and so on; and in October, 1894, there was an effort to raise the minimum trade to £4.  The committee had before the members in April, 1905, a recommendation that the rate of interest on all shares be reduced to four and one sixth per cent, and that a member's quarter's trade to entitle him to that rate be raised to £4.  The members accepted that part of the resolution which referred to the raising of the minimum trade, but the rate of interest payable to those who did the necessary trade remained through all those years at what it is in 1909, 5 per cent.  It was thought by many members that the provision for £4 minimum trade was a hardship, and in January, 1907, a special meeting of members accepted Mr. John Fernley's proposal to the effect that £2 trade a quarter should entitle a member to 5 per cent up to £20 shares, £3 trade 5 per cent up to £30, £4 trade 5 per cent up to £40.




THE Co-operative Union had under consideration a scheme for new headquarters, and there was an appeal to the societies for a sum of £20,000 to secure a site and erect a building to he styled "Holyoake House," near those of the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Manchester.  It was suggested that societies should contribute at the rate of 3d. per member.  Stalybridge Society's contribution at that rate was £46, and at the annual meeting held 3rd April, 1907, the members readily passed it.  A brief account of what the Union is and what it has done may be useful here.  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, or commercial — the help they may require.  Most of the legal advantages enjoyed by co-operators have been attained by the Union.  Amongst those advantages are (1) the right of the societies of holding in their own names lands and buildings, and property generally, and of suing and being sued in their own names instead of being driven to the employment of trustees; (2) the power to hold £200 instead of £100 by individual members; (3) the limitation of the liability of members; (4) the exemption of societies from charge to income tax on profits under the condition that the number of their shares shall not be limited; (5) the extension of the power of members to bequeath shares, loans, and deposits up to £100 by nomination, without the formality of a will or the necessity of appointing executors.

    The Co-operative Sundries Society commenced the erection of new works at Droylsden about this time, and on the 2nd October, 1907, our members accepted a recommendation of the committee that 200 additional £1 shares of the Sundries Society be taken up, and that a further sum of £200 be placed as a loan.  The new building was opened February 13th, 1909, and we were represented at the opening ceremony.

    As early as 1880, and again in 1889, it had been suggested that a banking account with the Co-operative Wholesale Society should be opened.  The suggestion was not then adopted.  On the 17th June, 1907, however, it was arranged that such an account should be opened, and from a date shortly after that all the society's banking business has been done through the Wholesale Society.

    A Burroughs adding machine was bought in June, 1907, and since that date members' purchases have been added by machinery.  It is used for many other purposes; it saves an immense amount of time and brain-fag; it never makes a mistake; and it seems now quite indispensable.

    The same year the first issue of the admirable children's journal, "Our Circle" appeared.  A good order was given, and copies were placed for sale in all the shops.

    Mr. James Bailey, of Millbrook, died in 1907.  He had been on the Board so recently as July, 1906.  A letter of condolence was sent to the family.

    The year 1907 was the best the society had experienced.  The sales were £129,537, an increase of £10,982 on 1906, the previous highest.  The dividend to members was £19,232, and the interest on their shares £2,454.

    The subject of committee elections was brought forward at members' meetings time after time.  In April, 1884, there was a resolution to the effect that the committee retire one quarterly, not three annually as hitherto.  Two years later Mr. Wm. Brown moved — "That retiring members be not eligible for re-election until they have been off the Board four quarters."  The motion was negatived.  In April, 1886, Mr. T. Kenworthy proposed — "That the members of Millbrook should have the power to nominate one or more members to represent their district."  This carried, and Mr. Thomas Wood, of Millbrook, was elected at the same meeting.  In January, 1893, Mr. M. Naden was successful with a motion in favour of standing down, and in July, 1895, there was an unsuccessful effort to reverse that decision.  A motion in October, 1897 — "That Millbrook and Heyrod members each have a representative, that in each case he be elected by his branch only, and that the members of those two branches do not vote in any other election" was rejected by 82 votes to 27.  In October, 1898, and January, 1904, there were efforts to revert to the system of yearly elections, but they were defeated, and quarterly elections took place until 1908, when Mr. Allen Hopwood's proposal of the present rule was accepted.  This provides for the election and retirement of three members half-yearly, each to serve eighteen months, to be eligible for re-election for a second term of eighteen months, and after that to stand down for twelve months; Millbrook and Heyrod branches to have jointly one representative.

    There were efforts, too, to put a stop to canvassing, by making it a disqualification, in April, 1900, January, 1907, and January, 1909.  On the last of the three dates Mr. A. Hopwood's motion on the subject was passed unanimously.

    The Co-operative Insurance Society Limited had new offices in Corporation Street, Manchester, erected about this time, and in April, 1908, Mr. J. Fawley and Mr. A. E. Dickin represented us at the opening.  At a very early stage the committee had given their support to the Co-operative Insurance Company as it was formerly styled.  There was a resolution December 31st, 1866 — "That the society join the conference to consider the mutual insurance proposition."  Probably the conference here referred to would be one of the early steps toward the formation of the Insurance Society, which was registered in 1867.  In November, 1867, it was decided that the society become a member of the company; there was a first call of 1s. per share in April, 1868, and further calls amounting to 4s. per share, the present amount per share called-up.  Our holding was increased, first to 50, and in 1881 to 65 shares, at which it still stands.  In February, 1869, the society's buildings and stock were insured with the company for £1,500.  From that the business we have given to the Insurance Society has increased until the amount insured is many thousands of pounds in fire, fidelity, and other departments, including the insurance against fire of all the branch stores and a good proportion of the Central premises risk, the latter being partly reinsured in other fire offices.  A member of the society, Mr. Samuel Hibbert, was acting as agent to the insurance company in 1889.  Afterwards there was a long interval during which there was no agent for Stalybridge.  In 1908 Mr. James Harrison, of Millbrook, was appointed an agent.

    The Ashton District Infirmary has had the society's support since 1870, a donation of £5 being passed by the annual meeting of May 2nd.  Later an annual subscription of five guineas was paid; it was increased in April, 1886, to ten guineas; in July, 1908, it was again doubled, the present subscription of twenty guineas per annum being fixed.

    On the 2nd October, 1908, the committee passed a vote of condolence with the family of the late Thomas Knott, who had died suddenly the day before.  A similar vote was passed by the quarterly meeting of members, October 7th.

    The old Castle Hall Mill was offered for sale to the society in August, 1902. The offer was not accepted.  In 1908 it was again offered; on the 4th May the conveyance was sealed and the mill became the property of the society.  At the time of writing there is no definite scheme, but it is thought that the site may at some future time be used for an extension to the Central premises.

    The story of the drapery department to 1894 has been told.  In that year Mr. J. T. Evans became drapery manager; he remained until 1905.  Mr. Evans was succeeded by Mr. A. V. Cartlidge, who came to us from a Yorkshire society in 1902.  Mr. Cartlidge was very energetic and the department flourished under his care.  He was drapery manager from June, 1905, to June, 1908.  The sales for a year immediately preceding his taking charge were £8,378; during the last year of his management they were £12,518.  He left with good credentials to take the management of drapery for Peterborough Society.  Mr. T. Faulkner, who was appointed first counterman when Mr. Cartlidge took the management, and who became drapery manager on the resignation of the latter, has proved a worthy successor.



    The annual meeting of members held 1st April, 1908, adopted the recommendation of the committee that a branch store, No. 8, for grocery and butchering, be erected in Taylor Street, Stocks Lane, Stalybridge.  A plot of land fronting Taylor Street and French Street on the Stamford Estate was taken.  Messrs. Saxon Brothers and Co. Limited undertook the builders' work and Mr. Arthur Mee the plumbers, with Mr. Geo. Rowbottom as architect.  The branch was opened on Saturday, December 5th, 1908, under the management of Mr. Garnet Guthrie.  There were present at the opening Mr. John Fawley, president; Messrs. R. Hanson, W. Shaw, T. W. Barnett, Hugh Lawton, A. Cooper, R. Stubbs, E. P. Owens, and A. E. Dickin, committee; Mr. J. H. Hinchliffe, secretary; Mr. J. B. Mason, manager; Mr. D. Holt, auditor; Mr. A. Turner, of the committee of Ashton-under-Lyne Society; Mr. Geo. Backhurst, manager of the Co-operative Sundries Society; Messrs. J. Saxon and O. Andrew, of Saxon Bros. and Co. Limited, builders of the branch; Mr. A. Mee, plumbing contractor; Mr. Geo. Rowbottom, architect; and others.  Mr. Barnett called upon Mr. Rowbottom, who said the new store had been constructed in such a manner as to ensure cleanliness and to avoid interference with business whilst any necessary decoration was going on.  He trusted it would do all the society expected, and more, and that further extension would soon be necessary.  (Hear, hear.)  He had very great pleasure in presenting to Mr. Fawley the key.  Mr. Fawley thanked Mr. Barnett for his introduction, and Mr. Rowbottom for his handsome present — the key.  It was at the request, he said, of a large number of members in that district that the committee decided to build that branch.  It was in a populous district and a growing one, and he believed it would prove one of the best of the branches.  Speaking as he was to co-operators he need no more than mention one or two of the advantages to be derived by members of a society.  They participated quarterly in proportion to their purchases, in the dividend, which would otherwise be profit going to one or a few.  They knew how useful that dividend was.  For one who was bringing up a young family it would probably clothe the children, or provide a trip to the seaside; or if it were left in as share capital at interest it would be there for any emergency such as sickness or bad trade, or disputes such as had just been experienced in the cotton trade.  He had no doubt many members had felt recently the advantage of having such capital.  He was connected with a productive concern at Droylsden, the Co-operative Sundries Society.  The workers there were employed under the most favourable conditions, and they participated half-yearly in a bonus to labour.  Everyone who worked for the Sundries Society received 1s. 6d. in the £ bonus on his wages.  No young man of 21 or over, whatever his occupation, had less than 24s. a week, and with bonus that was increased to 25s. 9d. a week.  His hearers would find in their new shop that afternoon a fair show of the goods made at Droylsden and at the productive works of their great Co-operative Wholesale Society.  The Stalybridge Society had been very successful in other parts; he believed Stocks Lane people would prove that they were good co-operators and would make that enterprise a huge success.  He had pleasure in opening No. 8 Branch of the Stalybridge Co-operative Society.  Mr. Fawley then unlocked the door and the shop was at once crowded by purchasing members.


    Additional withdrawable shares were allotted, commencing April, 1909, making the maximum holding per member £100.  It appears that in 1881 the society went to the limit imposed by Act of Parliament, as much as £200 shares being allotted to individual members.  In April of that year there was a proposal to reduce it to £100, and in the following year notice was given that shares over £100 held by any one member would cease to bear interest from the 1st April, 1882.  There was a resolution, January, 1885, further reducing it to £50, but this was rescinded a year later.  The limit became £90 in April, 1886, and later it was lowered by £10 at a time, until in February, 1890, it was £40.  That limit was retained until the April, 1909, meeting carried unanimously Mr. A. E. Dickin's motion that it be raised to £100, the maximum under the rules then in force, the rate of interest to remain at 5 per cent up to £40, and to be 3 per cent on the remaining £60.

    The Co-operative Insurance Society's Collective Life Assurance scheme was referred to at the same meeting.  Nearly five years before we entertained the conference of the Oldham District, North-Western Section of the Co-operative Union, and "Collective Assurance" was the subject, Mr. James Odgers, secretary to the Insurance Society, reading a paper.  The scheme was not then taken up in Stalybridge.  In other places it made headway until in April, 1909, 118 societies had it in operation.  Then the members accepted Mr. James Hibbert's motion requesting the committee to obtain further information as to the scheme, with a view to its being adopted.  Under the scheme, if it is adopted, the lives of all members will be assured by one policy, the premium of 1d. per £1 of sales being paid by the society.  The experience so far is that the premium is reduced eventually by surpluses to about Ύd. per £1.  The expenses charged to the collective department by the Insurance Society are limited to 5 per cent of the premiums.  What a great saving is effected will be apparent when it is realised how great is the expense of industrial life assurance where the premium is collected in weekly instalments from house to house.  The average benefit secured for a premium of £1 so collected is 11s. 5d. only; by means of the collective method of the Co-operative Insurance Society members may secure 19s. benefit for every £1 of premium paid.

    For the purpose of carrying out the jubilee celebration the annual meeting of April, 1908, appointed a committee consisting of the General Committee, the manager, secretary, and six other members — Messrs. John Woolley, Joe Ollerenshaw, George Barrett, A. Longden, George Heathcote, and Arthur Hamer.  Three months later it was decided that the jubilee fund, already accumulating, should be increased to £1,000.  Mr. W. Wardle, J.P., and Mr. A. Longden became jubilee secretaries, and the committee set to work.



The Jubilee Celebration.


DURING the jubilee year smoking concerts were held. The first function in the scheme of the jubilee committee, however, was a gathering of aged members — from sixty years of age upwards — on Saturday, 27th February, 1909. Including members and husbands and wives of members, some 450 tickets were applied for, and just about 400 persons attended, although the weather was somewhat severe. Tea was served in Old St. George's School, and at the Town Hall they were entertained by Mrs. A. N. Turner (soprano), Mr. T. Shaw (bass), Mr. Sam Hill (the local elocutionist), Mr. Sam Fitton and Mr. George Hilton (humorists), and Mr. J. Cropper (pianist).

    At the Town Hall Mr. John Fawley was chairman.  In a pithy address, he said it was the society's jubilee year, and it had been decided that certain festivities should take place to celebrate that jubilee.  It was considered that the older members were the first entitled to recognition, because they in years gone by had done a good deal to strengthen and sustain the society, and to bring it up to what it was that day.  In May there would be held an exhibition of articles made in co-operative manufactories, just to show the members and the public what was produced by co-operators, with co-operators' capital, for co-operators.  Other parties would be held, but the one which to his mind was most important, and to which he looked with the greatest hope of success, was the one which would be held in June — the demonstration, procession, and field day for the children of members.  He trusted everybody would help during those months; would do all they could to strengthen the hands of the committee; and so contribute towards a general success that jubilee year.  Fifty years ago the society had started, with a decision to supply the wants of the working people.  It was seen even in those early days that there were many opportunities and advantages for working people in co-operation.  It was a banding together of working men that started the movement in Stalybridge.  They were men of ability, of courage, and of determination.  In the early stages they had to prove to the people that co-operation was beneficial and necessary to the workers.  The society had in the early years many difficulties, many trials.  The American war broke out, and many there that night would remember the great trials and privations of those in the cotton manufacturing towns of Lancashire in consequence of the war between North and South.  The society at that time was struggling very hard indeed, but the men in charge were not easily daunted by obstacles.  The society had grown until it was the most powerful and influential trading concern in the borough, catering for more than half the people of Stalybridge.  He trusted members would rally round and try to make that year of their jubilee one of the best and most prosperous their society had known.  He could not call those present old people; he had noticed that day much energy amongst them; but they would remember the time when working people had shop-books, and credit, not cash-trading, was the rule.  Then came the co-operative movement, and instead of a shop book a member was asked to have a share book, with something to his or her credit.  The co-operative movement had done a great deal in Stalybridge, and he hoped it would continue.  He relied on the members present to maintain it, to uplift it, to bring it to an even better position for doing good than it had yet attained.  He could assure them that the committee, on their part, would do their utmost.



    On the 20th March, 1909, tea was served to about 498 persons at the Town Hall, and Mr. J. Fawley presided at the concert held at the same place.  He extended a hearty welcome to those present, expressing the pleasure the committee felt at seeing so many members there, taking their part in the jubilee celebrations.  He called upon Mr. W. E. Dudley, of Runcorn, who said he would, as Mr. Fawley had promised, speak as one co-operator to another.  He associated himself with the co-operative movement because he believed it was to the co-operative movement that they would have to look for the salvation of the worker.  The history of the Stalybridge Society spoke volumes to him, and he would advise them to let no one come between them and their society.  Some queer statements as to the aims and principles and effects of the movement were made by some persons.  He would be delighted if that hall were occupied by such men, and if they would heckle him on the subject.  The movement sought absolutely earnest, whole-hearted publicity.  One object of that gathering was to create thought and reflection, and he believed his hearers would agree that thought and reflection in the hearts and minds and practice of the working classes of this country were a standing necessity.  If they and he had many years ago thought more upon their own welfare and their own doings, their position would have been different that day.  It had been said that ideas were like flowers weaving into garlands.  Could they not find in their own minds a necessity for garlands in this life?  Were there not many homes into which such garlands had brought brightness?  Carlyle had said "a thinking man is the worst enemy that the prince of darkness can have."  He would give them three points of a creed of Robert Owen, stated in 1834.  The first was that the wants of all mankind should be met without slavery and without servitude.  Robert Owen was not a man wanting to make a position for himself; he was a man of affluence spending his life and money in improving the social condition of the working classes.  He did not tell the workers at that time that labour was not required; he said that labour was a blessing, but that slavery and servitude was a curse.  Their chairman, Mr. Dudley continued, was concerned in the management of another institution that did much to reward labour as it should be rewarded.  Not only did that society — the Co-operative Sundries Manufacturing Society — pay full wages, but it contributed bonus to labour in addition.  That went to prove that where production was brought under the influence of co-operation, slavery and servitude were shunned.  The workers shared in the profits they created, and sanitary conditions and everything desirable was brought in.  The next point Owen wanted to raise was that all must be made intelligent, and all must be made charitable.  Co-operators did not seek to take the workers outside their class, but they did help them to understand the problems of life better than they did before.  Therefore they gave an opportunity of seeing things in a different light, and as the intelligence of the worker was raised, there would be a greater future for the co-operative movement.  In the third place, Owen wanted to say that co-operation must get rid of buying in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest.  The producer in the outside world wanted to find when he went to market that everything he was about to put on the market was selling at the highest possible price.  The consumer, when he went to market, desired that he should be able to purchase at the lowest possible price.  The co-operative movement stepped in to level these interests.  His hearers were both the producers and the consumers, and profit did not go to this or that section, but was divided equitably.  Co-operators worked as a collective body, but observed the individuality of the collective system, and in proportion to that which they were prepared to contribute, whether in labour, capital, literary work, or management, so in proportion would be their reward.  Henry Ward Beecher put it well when he said that to live aright and to assist human progress means this — that which you receive in seed must be handed on in blossom to the next generation, and that which you receive in blossom shall be handed on in fruit.  Their pioneers in Stalybridge took the seed and handed on the blossom.  They and he had that blossom; what were they doing to pass on the fruit?  They should use every effort to build up those organisations of theirs, and then they could go on to the words of Dr. Norman Macleod :—

Courage, brother, do not stumble,
    Though thy path be (lark as night;
There's a star to guide the humble —
    Trust in God and do the right.

    An excellent programme was rendered by Mr. E. Spafford's Elite Concert Party, consisting of Miss Margaret Hadfield (soprano), Miss Helena Joy (contralto), Mr. John Collett (tenor), Mr. Harry Bray (baritone), and Mr. Frank Crawford (humorist), with Mr. Spafford himself as accompanist.



    A tea party and concert for the members of Mount Pleasant Branch was held at the Town Hall on Saturday, 3rd April, 1909.  Fully 600 people partook of tea, and an excellent programme was rendered by a concert party directed by Miss Pennington, of the Pennington Concert Agency, Longsight, Manchester.

    The artistes were Madame Nellie Teggin (soprano), Miss Eva Sparkes (contralto), Mr. John Moran (tenor), Mr. G. H. Ditchburn (bass), Mr. Frank Crawford (entertainer), and Miss Pennington at the piano.  Mr. John Fawley took the chair, and introduced Mr. Charles Wright, manager of Manchester and Salford Society.

    Mr. Wright congratulated the members on the great meeting in connection with the jubilee, and on the flourishing state of the society.  It reminded him, he said, of an old man whom he heard at a party.  He was a hundred years of age, and the jolliest old fellow at that gathering.  Somebody said to him, "Why, John, you look as if you would live to be another hundred."  "Well," he said, "why should I not?  I am a good deal stronger now than when I started the first hundred."  The society was fifty, and he hoped it would go forward cheerfully and hopefully and unitedly towards the next half century.  It had passed its infancy and early childhood, with the ailments incidental to childhood.  Now they appeared in full manhood and full womanhood as members of a great and prosperous undertaking.  The society he represented had been interested in the movement at Stalybridge right from the beginning, and he came that day from 18,000 members of Manchester and Salford to say to those of Stalybridge, "Go on and prosper."  The Manchester and Salford pawnbrokers recently held their 100th anniversary, and they congratulated one another on the soundness and progressive character of the undertaking.  He had no word of complaint against "uncle," who had perhaps helped occasionally someone to tide over a real difficulty, but there was an old proverb that "who goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing," and while he said nothing about visiting "uncle" for the purpose of getting a temporary loan, he did feel that there was a danger lest that going to "uncle" should crystallise into a habit, which would injure the moral fibre.  Turning from the pawnbrokers to the store, he said the latter had something which no pawnbroker could show.  His hearers were members of a great body numbering two-and-a-half millions of members, doing a trade of £103,000,000 a year, and dividing profits amounting to £11,000,000.  During the past forty-five years the store movement in this country had earned for the members no less than 165 millions.  Where would those profits have gone if not to members of co-operative societies?  They would have made a hundred millionaires; but better a million people with £1 each in their pockets than one millionaire.  Co-operators believed in better distribution of the world's wealth, and if that were achieved, there would not be such terrible stories of fellow men and women on the brink of starvation.  There was talk about the greatness of our empire, and in many senses the empire was great; but what was the good of an empire on which the sun never set to the man or woman who lived in a court where the sun never rose.  We sang "Britons never shall be slaves."  Were there not thousands of slaves in every city throughout the land?  Were there not crowds of helpless women and girls whose everyday life was a fight?  He would give one or two instances of the pay to those women workers in Manchester.  For making roses such as women wear in their hats, 3s. 6d. per gross was paid; for making parma violets and scarlet geraniums, 7d. per gross; for making shirts, five farthings each; and for making a pair of men's trousers, a woman was paid 5d.  The women-folks should remember, when they were tempted to rush hither and thither, and to leave their own drapery store, that the average wage of the women workers of this country only worked out at 1½d. to 2d. per hour.  The workers did not want charity to help in such cases; they wanted better homes, better food, better wages, and more leisure to enjoy them.  Surely the day of doom for the sweater and the sweating den was coming, and the day of hope for the toiler was at hand.  Co-operation was trying to remedy that; it was trying to uplift people by paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's labour, by providing for the workers healthy and well-appointed workshops, such as the Stalybridge Society had in its tailoring department.  It was trying to span with a golden bridge that great gulf which exists between the haves and the have-nots.  He urged his hearers as co-operators to work heartily and unitedly for their own, for the growing good of this big and busy world.  He believed the time was coming when co-operation would be more widely known and practised between man and man, and when it was, we should all understand that the roar of the blast-furnace was better than the roar of the cannon.  It might be thought that this co-operation was going on in England only, but there were 146 journals in the world devoted to the popularising of co-operative principles, and co-operation was being widely practised abroad.  As it took root abroad, people of different nationalities would look upon one another as brothers, and, as Mr. Seddon, M.P., said, we should know and feel that the gospel of co-operation was self-help, thrift, and international amity.  He asked all to take with them, as they crossed the threshold of the jubilee into the next half-century, the message of "Peace on earth; goodwill to men."



    There was a gathering of members from High Street and Cheetham Hill Road branches on Saturday, April 17th, 1909.  Tea was served at Christ Church School to nearly 800 persons, and there was a concert at the Mechanics' Institution.  The artistes were Miss Myra Dudley (soprano), Miss Annie Hargreaves (contralto), Mr. J. W. Cottrell (tenor), Mr. Samuel A. Moore (bass), Mr. Fred Ashcroft (humorous entertainer), and Mr. E. Spafford (accompanist).

    Mr. George Hayhurst, of Accrington, a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, addressed the gathering.  He was there, and he felt honoured thereby, to rejoice with them at their jubilee.  He noticed that it was announced on the programme as a party for the younger members; he looked at some of those before him, and thought — well, that they were getting on.  (Laughter.)  He had been trying to form a picture in his mind of the old man of that day and the same man as he appeared fifty years before.  He was informed that a few of the co-operators of those early days remained in Stalybridge.  All honour to them; the younger fellows before him owed a great deal to the grey hairs, and they should always respect them.  But for the battles of their fathers, they would not enjoy the privileges they did.  At a conference he had seen an old man of over seventy who heard another say, "Give me the good old days of fifty years ago."  "Nay, nay, noan soa," said the old man; "I were livin' then, tha knows, an' I want noan o'th' old days; I have my tit-bit now."  He was delighted that the old people had their pension of 5s. a week.  (Hear, hear, and applause.)  He was proud that the Stalybridge Society had that jubilee year beaten its record.  Were they as good co-operators that day as those of fifty years ago?  (A voice: "Better.")  He was glad to hear that word "better."  Those Stalybridge co-operators of fifty years ago were proud of their little shop, and if his hearers were as thorough as their pioneers, they would not go outside their own shops for anything.  He reminded his audience of the words of the Rev. C. G. Lang, D.D., when Bishop of Stepney, at the Stratford Congress Exhibition in 1904:—

You won't forget, will you, those great ideals in the midst of which co-operation was born, when the working classes were banded together not only to raise their capital, but to raise their character.  You should always keep those ideals before you, and maintain the honour of the goods you sell.  Let it never be said of co-operative factories that they turn out shoddy articles.  Let it never be said of a distributive store that it tried to make money by permitting the sale of goods which could not possibly be as cheap as represented unless there was sweating going on somewhere.

He had no patience, said Mr. Hayhurst, with the trade-unionist who went into the cheapest shop he could find.  Every trade-unionist should be a co-operator, and every one ought to be true to his ideals.  Trade union funds had been the means of keeping the wolf from the door, and from the Co-operative Wholesale Society alone there had been over £300,000 expended in relieving distress.  He reminded his hearers that they were a part of that great organisation, which had a trade turnover of nearly £25,000,000 a year, and its own bank with a turnover of £100,000,000 a year.  The power they possessed was power they should be proud of and stick to.  If, as one member present had said, they were as good co-operators as those of fifty years ago, how was it that of a trade of £100,000,000 done in the movement, only £25,000,000 found its way to their own Wholesale?  They could make it more.  An old lady of over seventy had given him a motto. It was:—

Whatever you are, be that;
    Whatever you do, be true;
Straightforwardly act,
Be honest, in fact,
    Be nobody else but you.

The co-operative movement had been built up to what it was in spite of opposition, in spite of boycotting; and, without legislation, if all men were true brothers, there could be brought about such a state of affairs as had never been dreamed of in the wisest man's philosophy.  They had, in their own Wholesale Society, people working a 48 hours week, the men having a four-course dinner supplied them for 4d. and the girls a similar dinner for 3d.  Those girls did not work in the clothes they went to and from the works in.  Such were the conditions under which the people worked, and a good profit was made.  Yet many of the mothers present did not, he was afraid, buy the biscuits made by themselves in those works.  He had a message for the men, too, that they could get the best clothes cheap from their own works without any sweating.  There was opened at Dunston-on-Tyne, the day before, a soap works that would turn out over 200 tons of soap a week, and when fully occupied 900 tons a week, without giving watches for coupons.  They had five flour mills of their own.  They were producing for themselves nearly £8,000,000 worth of goods every year.  If they were as good co-operators as those of fifty years ago, Stalybridge Society would have a big increase that year.  People said we should buy from our own.  "Yes," concluded the speaker, "this society is your own, and be sure you buy from your own.  Be true to one another, and success will attend every effort."  (Applause.)



    There was a gathering of the members of Huddersfield Road Branch, together with about a hundred of those of Stocks Branch, at the Town Hall, on Saturday, April 24th, 1909.  Tea was served to 850 persons, and a concert was given by Miss Myra Dudley (soprano), Miss Annie Barker (contralto), Mr. Stanley Jenkinson (tenor), Mr. G. H. Ditchburn (bass), Mr. Fred Price (humorist), and Mr. Ernest Spafford (accompanist).  Mr. John Fawley occupied the chair.  He introduced Mr. William Lander, a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, expressing a wish that everyone present would think about what Mr. Lander said.  He was a man of vast experience in the movement, and there was no better to speak to co-operators on co-operation.

    Mr. Lander said it would seem almost unkind, with such a fine programme before them, to ask them to listen to a long address.  It was fitting, however, on such occasions that something should be said in reference to the co-operative movement.  That meeting was one of a series at which they were rejoicing over the attainment of their jubilee.  He was delighted to renew his acquaintance with Stalybridge co-operators for the purpose of joining with them in rejoicing that they had accomplished such an event and had made such remarkable progress during the fifty years of their existence as a society.  He gathered from figures supplied to him by their secretary that since they commenced they had done a trade of about £3,000,000, and, as a result of their activity, had had returned to them something like £430,000 dividend and interest.  Those were figures and facts about which they should rejoice, for they spoke volumes for their appreciation of the advantages that co-operation conferred on them in their own society, and proved to them the value of combination for the improvement of the people.  Co-operation was a power and an influence for good in the State, judging it by what it had done not only in that town, but throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, indeed almost throughout the civilised world.  Fifty years was an important period in the history of the individual, the institution, or the nation.  Perhaps some of them had seen the realisation of fifty years of married life and a golden wedding.  The uniting of two individuals represented in miniature the larger coming together for the purpose of helping one another.  Fifty years ago their pioneers in Stalybridge, and those of many other societies, joined together to improve the lives, to better the condition of the people, in a word, to help one another.  That was the basis of co-operation, and it was a noble ideal that the movement always had before it.  To him co-operation was a profoundly sacred thing.  Social reform was, or ought to be, in the heart and mind of every true citizen of this great empire, and co-operation was practical voluntary social reform, a joining together for self-help and self-improvement, and therefore true, practical, every-day Christianity.  (Hear, hear, and applause.)  They in Stalybridge had travelled fifty years, the movement had travelled about sixty-five, and there were immense figures showing success all along the line.  Great difficulties had been encountered, but unity of purpose, oneness of heart, and determination had brought about the great result seen that day.  Their society in Stalybridge had been one of the blessings of their town.  Its influence on the distribution of the wealth of the town had made for the domestic happiness of the people.  Would anyone tell him that the homes in Stalybridge were not that day better because of co-operation?  Fifty years ago those homes were unsatisfactory, but they had been greatly improved, and that improvement had been brought about by the spirit of combination.  He believed that the individual system of ruling commercial life was played out, and that it must be ruled on collective lines in the future.  He was connected with a great institution — the Co-operative Wholesale Society — which would in about five years be celebrating its jubilee.  It was doing a trade as merchant and manufacturer of £25,000,000, and joining the nations of the world together co-operatively.  What it had done was only a little of what he hoped it would do; there was a greater work in front of it.  Distribution had been a great and grand work, but the organising of industry on collective lines was a greater work still.  Industrialism was still unsatisfactory.  There were many places where the workers ought to have shorter hours, and better conditions in which to work, and he believed the people could get both if they combined and were determined.  He thought the greatest difficulty before the country was, not the building of "Dreadnoughts" and the fighting of foreign nations, but the social evils of the time.  He believed every industry could have a 48 hours week; co-operation had done it and was doing it, and if the workers were determined the principle could be extended.  He had the honour to preside over the productive works of the great Wholesale Society, which employed 11,000 people in production alone, and which paid no man less than 24s. a week.  He did not boast of that 24s.; it was not enough, but it was a great advance on the conditions once existing, and they could get it best by combining in co-operation.  There was not another factory in this country where females were employed making shirts, working 46 hours a week, and getting an average wage of from 19s. to 20s. for it.  On the other hand, there were poor women working in Ancoats that day making shirts, and ladies' blouses, too, in their own houses, finding their own thread and machines and gas, and getting 9d. a dozen for making shirts and 1s 1½d. a dozen for making ladies' blouses.  It was a scandal, and the way out was through co-operation.  For what the co-operative movement had done and was doing for them in Stalybridge, he urged them to take a deeper interest in it as a social reforming influence for the generations yet to come.  They should hold to their store, and support those works in which good conditions existed, in order that they might be extended.  Mr. Lander concluded: "Learn more about the movement, practice its principles more, try to usher in a better time for the present generation, and leave a glorious heritage for those to come, as our forefathers have for us."  (Loud applause.)



    A gathering of the members of Kay Street and Stocks branches was held at the Town Hall on Saturday, May 1st, 1909.  Tea was served to 700 persons, and there was a concert by Miss Bessie Blackburn (soprano), Miss Annie Hargreaves (contralto), Mr. Albert J. Holt (tenor), Mr. Arthur Weber (bass), Mr. John Drake (Yorkshire humorist). and Mr. Ernest Spafford (accompanist.)

    Mr. J. Taylor, one of the staff of the Co-operative Wholesale Society at Balloon Street, addressed the audience.  He said he felt very much like a culprit to have to intervene between those present and the excellent programme they had before them.  If they would give him their patience, however, he would not long take their attention.  He was reminded of the woman who sought a separation order.  When asked by the judge why she wanted a separation, she said it was because he had never spoken to her for a month.  The husband was asked if that were so, and why, and he replied, "Please, sir, I didn't want to interrupt her."  Even if they cried "Votes for women," he had no friends in the Government, and he would advise them to let him have the few minutes at his disposal.  They had seen fit that night to honour one of the workers, and he thought they were like the lady controlling the use of her fire-irons.  Let any mere man attempt to poke the fire with the beautiful irons of the sitting-room, and he would be told "No! there is a little common poker round the corner for that."  He was a little common poker.  They owed much to the starters of the co-operative movement, who by their wise provision for depreciation, and by their setting aside of reserve funds, had made it possible for the co-operators of that later time to step forward more bravely.  The movement was only fourteen or fifteen years old when they started in Stalybridge, and the people were struggling against such things as the Corn Laws.  They commenced the co-operative movement with the object of getting the profits from distribution.  There were many ladies present, and he was glad of it.  Whilst the men were earning 80 per cent of the wages, the women were earning 20 per cent.  On the other hand, whilst the women were spending 75 per cent, the men were content with the remaining 25 per cent.  He was quite willing to let the husband be the prime minister, but the wife should be the chancellor of the exchequer.  A wife must go where she could get the best, and a pound's worth must not cost her twenty-one shillings.  Where a person looked for a shop showing the lowest prices, it was a case of the biter bit.  If they looked around in their own town they would see that there were nine or ten times too many shops in which small businesses were conducted.  The co-operative movement concentrated and economised, and it had solved the problem of distribution.  If a number of those engaged in shop-keeping could be employed in more successful methods of producing something, a useful work would have been accomplished.  They as co-operators had works of their own, turning out goods of absolute purity, under proper conditions, and without the expenditure of immense sums in advertising.  Hence they were economising when they purchased those goods.  He had seen it stated in one of the newspapers of a day or two before that skirts were made by women for 1s. 9d. a dozen, and that leaves for prayer-books and bibles were being folded at a price that would not keep body and soul together.  They could be quite sure that goods made in their own co-operative works were produced under proper conditions.  They had the only biscuit factory working an eight hours day, and the biscuit factory was not an isolated example.  They in Stalybridge were one of 1,418 societies.  Truly, as Lord Rosebery had said, the great principle of the union of interests in the co-operative movement constituted a state within a state.  If they went to their stores and did not get what they wanted, let them tell, not the neighbourhood, but the management; or, in the words of others, "If we please you, tell others; if we don't, tell us."  The business was theirs, and he hoped that in the days to come even brighter and better things could be said of it because they had supported it.  A young man had wanted to see his young lady.  He was in a difficulty, because she had retired.  He went beneath her window and called out "fire!" and when a night-capped head appeared at the window and asked "where?" he replied "here."  They required more fire.  They were rejoicing on having attained their jubilee.  He trusted they would hand on to those who would come after a glorious heritage of co-operation unsullied, realising that they were there not so much to jubilate about the past, but to seek the best for the future.



    On Saturday, May 8th, 1909, tea was served to 744 persons at the Town Hall.  Again Mr. Ernest Spafford, of Hooley Hill, brought a concert party, and again a delightful evening's entertainment was the result.  The artistes were Miss Myra Dudley (soprano), Miss Annie Hargreaves (contralto), Mr. A. J. Holt (tenor), Mr. G. H. Ditchburn (bass), Mr. Frank Crawford (humorist), and Mr. E. Spafford (accompanist).  After Miss Dudley's first song, Mr. John Fawley (chairman) said the talented artiste they had just heard came from Crewe; Mr. Crawford, the clever humorous entertainer, came from Crewe; and the next item on the programme was a brief address by Mr. Miles Parkes, who came from Crewe.  They were certainly a very good crew.  (Laughter.)

    Mr. Parkes, a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, expressed the pleasure he felt in being present to rejoice with the members on the occasion of their society's jubilee.  In the middle of the last century, he said, the working classes of this country were struggling for existence.  Bread was dear, and flesh and blood were cheap; education was denied the working man, his hours of labour were many, and his wages at starvation rates.  The working man was isolated and entirely at the mercy of the capitalist.  Suffering under those conditions, the historic pioneers of Rochdale decided to strike a blow for freedom, and introduced a new scheme of social amelioration.  To what great ends did small beginnings sometimes lead.  The great movement with which they were proud to be identified was born of the seed of discontent in the soil of starvation, and it had by the magnitude of its operations so elevated the masses that an indelible imprint on the national history had been made.  By the influence of the co-operative movement the working classes of the country had not only acquired for themselves millions of capital, but they had elevated their lives, brightened their prospects, and secured for themselves a position otherwise unattainable to them.  He believed that the future of the working classes depended whether commerce was to be conducted on co-operative or competitive lines.  Under the existing system of competition it was a case of every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.  The co-operative principle made for friendship, fellowship, and human brotherhood, and its ultimate triumph would mean the displacement of the spirit of cut-throat competition for the higher aims of associated service and concerted action.  The co-operative movement was both sound in principle and beneficial in practice, because it aimed at the welfare of all.  It sought to put out all that tended to enrich the few at the expense of the many.  In the field of commerce, consumption, distribution, and production were, generally speaking, antagonistic, each prospering as it took advantage of the others.  Hence such keen competition which, as Carlyle said, had rendered life, not a matter of mutual helpfulness, but rather of social war and mutual hostility.  The co-operative idea taught that persons engaged in commercial transactions were not rivals, but friends.  As Ruskin put it, it was an exchange among friends whereby there should be no undue advantage on either side, but rather an equal advantage on both sides.  The more that spirit could be infused into trade and commerce, the nearer should we approach that time

When man to man the world o'er
Shall brothers be and a' that.

By our system of co-operation we were seeking to bring the consumer into direct contact with the producer, and thus the consumer was gradually regulating the conditions under which his goods were produced and sold, and helping to bring together the atoms of society to a state in which each shall seek his own in all men's good, and all men work together in noble brotherhood.  He likened co-operation to a bridge, at one end of which there was superabundance and at the other penury.  Thousands of thrifty toilers were passing, tapping for themselves those great reservoirs of wealth, and establishing a new system of industrial peace more in harmony with justice and with sound national policy.  The tendency of co-operative operations was to bring about a diminution of poverty by removing inequalities.  Under a national system of co-operation we should have fewer millionaires, fewer people with immense fortunes, but a more contented peasantry and artisan people, and, after all, a thrifty, intelligent, sober democracy was the backbone of this or any country.  The Stalybridge Society was distributing among the working people of the town no less than £20,000 per annum.  Just imagine some wealthy person making such a gift year after year.  His portrait would be in every home, and a statue would be erected to perpetuate his memory.  Was it not better and nobler for the working classes, by this system of associated effort, to get for themselves those large sums without being dependent on anyone?  In ten years the movement had accumulated for the workers no less a sum than £1,000,000 which would otherwise have gone to people already wealthy.  But money was of value only so far as it was usefully employed.  He supposed there was no question that so greatly agitated the minds of the working classes and of social reformers as that of the industrial problem, and he contended that if the great labour problem was to be solved, it would be by the application of the principles of co-operation.  Much of the confusion of the working world sprang from the fact that capitalists had possession of the implements of labour.  The man who owned those implements had only to say to the man at the wheel, "hands off," and he was thrown out of employment.  Co-operators wanted to accumulate their capital in order that they might secure for themselves their implements of labour.  The more manufactures they could enter into, the better provision they could make for old age, and the greater facilities they would have for doing away with the workhouse and the scandal of the pauper's grave.  They could only succeed in raising the standard of living to the working classes in proportion to the support the members gave to their societies.  He remembered a story of a newly-married couple who purchased a perambulator.  The young wife placed her first-born in it and they started for home.  People smiled.  The husband walked round the carriage, and found on it a ticket bearing the words: "Our own make; may be had at the stores, 18s. 6d. each."  The moral was, when they went to the stores to make their purchases they should ask for "our own make."  That would be a valuable contribution on their part to the desired result.  Let them not be tempted away by any bait, however alluring, and they would be helping to make their society even more successful in the future than in the past.  Thus would their efforts be blended in trying to make this movement a still greater boon and blessing to the workers of the country.

What might be done if men were wise,
    What noble deeds, my suffering brother,
Did men unite in love and right,
    And cease their hate of one another.

Oppression's heart would be imbued
    With kindling drops of loving kindness,
And knowledge pour from shore to shore,
    Light up the eyes of human blindness.

The meanest wretch that ever trod,
    The lowest sunk in grief and sorrow,
Might stand erect in self-respect
    And share this teeming world to-morrow.

What might be done?  This might be done,
    And more than this, my suffering brother,
More than the heart e'er said or sung,
    If men were wise and loved each other.

    The concert was then proceeded with, and item after item was encored.  Soprano, contralto, tenor, and bass, all had their meed of praise, and the humorous selections of Mr. Crawford, and the humorous duets of Miss Dudley and Mr. Crawford, were greatly enjoyed.  After the National Anthem, with which the programme concluded, there was another spontaneous outburst of applause.



    An exhibition of co-operative productions and work in progress, organised by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited, and under the direction of Mr. H. Gill, of the Wholesale Society, was opened at the Town Hall, on Saturday, 15th May, 1909, and continued until Wednesday, the 19th, inclusive.

    Mr. John Fawley presided.  He announced that letters of regret for their unavoidable absence had been received from the Reverends T. H. Sheriff, C. Sutcliffe, T. M. Oldfield, C. Rushby, and H. Hawley.  Some of them expected to visit the exhibition before it was closed.  That exhibition had been arranged as one form in which the jubilee should be celebrated, just to show the people something of what was being produced within their own movement.  Production as a sphere of co-operative activity was very important, and it was insufficiently understood by the general body of members.  Some thought that whenever they made a purchase at one of the society's stores they were buying co-operative goods, but that was not always the case, and it should be the duty and pleasure of every manager and assistant to bring prominently before the members the goods made by co-operators, for co-operators, with co-operative capital.  Those goods were made in well-built, well-ventilated works, from pure, unadulterated materials.  The sanitary conditions were perfect, the best wages paid, and the workers were happy and contented without driving.  What a contrast to the conditions existing in some of the sweating dens of this country, where men and women were employed very long hours at starvation rates, working, living, cooking their food, ay! even sleeping in the same room.  The whole life of such people was crushed out of them by the sweater, and they ultimately gave up the struggle and ceased to look for anything better.  How were those people to lift themselves to something higher?  It was to counteract such conditions that co-operative manufactories were established, and he trusted the exhibition would have the effect of inducing more of the members of Stalybridge Society to ask for their own productions.

    Mr. T. E. Moorhouse, a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society Limited, said it gave him great pleasure to be present to rejoice in the jubilee of the Stalybridge Society.  When, fifty years ago, the pioneers of the movement in the town put their heads together for the formation of a co-operative society, the condition of the working classes throughout Great Britain was anything but rosy, and there could be no doubt that it was owing to the depressed conditions under which many then lived that the idea of co-operation took root, and that so many societies were organised in that part of the country about the same time.  Coming as he did from a neighbouring village — Delph — where co-operation had been in existence about the same number of years, he could assure them that there was in the history of those organisations very much that was interesting.  That exhibition was to show what the people could do for themselves.  He believed in self-help rather than too much borrowed help.  Co-operation meant self-help, and the productive side of the movement was one of the most hopeful.  He had received, a few days before, the annual return of the Co-operative Union, which would be open to discussion by some 1,600 delegates at the Newcastle Congress in Whit-week, and he found that the co-operative trade of Great Britain for the year 1908 amounted to more than £107,000,000, an increase over the previous year of £1,832,000, and when they considered that the year 1907 was one of the greatest years for commercial boom that Great Britain had known, and when they remembered the terrible commercial depression existing during the greater part of 1908, he thought they would realise that co-operation had more than held its own.  He thought the imports and exports of Great Britain in 1908 were something like £114,000,000 less than the previous year, and that being so, it was a great triumph for the co-operative movement to have a substantial increase.  They were more particularly concerned that afternoon with productive co-operation.  He had attended the sweating exhibition held in Manchester some two or three years before.  It was an opportunity for people to see for themselves, in the kind of goods produced, a miniature reflection of the conditions under which people laboured and under under which the goods were produced.  As co-operators, they believed that those who toiled from Monday morning to Saturday noon were the people who ought to have the best which the earth could produce, and who ought to work under the best possible conditions.  It was with that ideal that co-operative production had its inception, and they had been trying to work to that ideal ever since.  When the twenty-eight pioneers of Rochdale met to form their society, it was stated in an introduction to their rules that their object was to obtain control, not only of the means of distribution, but also of the means of production, and that was still the aim of the movement.  They had before them that day just a hint of what was being done by the Co-operative Wholesale Society.  The Wholesale Society had a total turnover last year of close upon £25,000,000.  It had some sixty co-operative factories or productive workshops, and during the year ended December, 1908, had put out from those workshops goods to the value of £5,750,000.  It might not be generally known, but they were the largest corn millers in the United Kingdom, they had five shoe factories employing 4,000 to 5,000 hands, a woollen mill at Batley, cocoa works at Luton, jam works at Middleton, biscuit works at Crumpsall, soap works at Irlam, Silvertown, and Dunston-on-Tyne.  Those were just a few of the industries in which the Wholesale Society engaged.  In Ireland they ran seventy to eighty creameries, where butter was made under the best possible conditions.  The turnover in butter alone was more than £4,500,000 during 1908.  Nearly £3,000,000 value was brought from Denmark, and if the producers would take a lesson from Denmark, agriculture in Great Britain would be in a better position.  When he read that we were importing food to the value of over £7,000,000 per annum, he thought a great quantity could be produced in our own land had we more equitable conditions, more reasonable landlords, and co-operation among the people.  Those were the things co-operators were aspiring for, and by means of exhibitions such as the one to be opened there that day, the people could realise the possibilities in the direction of doing for themselves.  They could go on from victory to victory toward the time when sweating dens would be unknown, and every working man's home would be a paradise on earth.  (Applause.)

    Mr. J. F. Cheetham, M.P., said it was a pleasure to be present on an occasion of so much local interest.  They were there that afternoon for a purpose far transcending the sphere of party political controversies.  After the admirable speeches from experts just listened to, he felt it would be presumption on his part to address at great length the instructed audience before him.  The vast importance of co-operation as a dominant factor in the social progress of the community had been recognised by eminent men in every department of our national life, by our most eminent thinkers in economics, and by politicians of all parties.  (Hear, hear.)  He would like to cull from some leaflets which had been sent to him along with the programme, one or two of the opinions of such men.  The greatest of Liberal statesmen, Mr. Gladstone, had said, "There has not been a better thing done in this country, in my opinion, than the establishment of co-operation, such as the successful co-operation of which Lancashire deserves the principal credit."  Another, of very different political views, Lord Derby, said, "It is not in the language of idle flattery, but as the expression of a deliberate and sincere conviction, that I begin by telling you that the subject which brings this Congress together is, in my judgment, more important as regards the future of England than nine-tenths of those discussed in Parliament, and around which political controversy gathers."  With those two statesmen he entirely agreed. (Applause.)  It was a matter of surprise to him that Parliament, which devoted so much time to legislation affecting the conflicting interests of labour and capital upon their present basis, should be doing so little to pursue the practical application of co-operation in our industries, that practical application through which alone, he believed, could be brought about a permanent and satisfactory solution of what was perhaps the most difficult problem of the day.  He would not take up more of their time by stating the opinions of such statesmen as Lord Shaftesbury, of economists such as Cairnes, John Stuart Mill, and others.  He had had some conversation with a friend of his in the House of Commons, Mr. H. Vivian, M.P., who had put into his hands a paper showing the great progress made by co-operation in recent years, especially distributive co-operation.  Whilst the number of members of co-operative societies in 1890 was a little over a million, in 1908 they had reached 2,400,000.  Their holding in shares had increased from £10,600,000 to £30,000,000, and their trade profit had jumped from £3,760,000 to £10,750,000 in the same period.  The results of productive co-operation, with which they were mainly concerned that day, did not compare with those of distribution.  There were two forms of distributive co-operation, that form with which they were concerned that day, and co-partnership.  Some statistics of the results of the productive departments of the English Wholesale Society had been given them.  He found that there had been a four-fold growth during the years 1890 to 1908, and that seemed a very satisfactory growth.  Much greater encouragement should be given to productive co-operation, and he looked forward to the time when many of our great industries would be organised on the co-operative principle, for during the last thirty or forty years his conviction had been that it was only by organising our industries that we could bring about a sure industrial peace, and do away with the conflicts between labour and capital on their present footing.  (Applause.)  They were then suffering from a trouble in the cotton industry which would not have occurred, he thought, if the trade had been organised on the co-operative principle.  He attached great importance to the co-operative principle in our industrial system.  He had often wondered whether it might be hoped, now that trade-unionism had so completely organised its forces, and societies had attained to such a full measure of freedom of action, if they would turn their attention to promote the principle of co-operation in various industries.  They had control of large means, and he hoped they would throw themselves heartily into that movement and bring their best influence to bear upon what he considered as perhaps the most important social question of the day.  They sometimes heard alarmist expressions of the danger of co-operation encroaching upon individual enterprise.  He confessed that in those matters he was very much an individualist.  He believed there was scarcely one of our great industries which had not been originated by individual enterprise and skill and energy; but there was really no conflict, or ought not to be, between the two principles.  It was, he believed, to the action and reaction of individualism and co-operation that we must look for the development of our great industrial system.  We could not afford to do without either, but individual effort should be brought to bear upon co-operation.  Productive co-operation especially should have attention, and he trusted that exhibition would show them the possibilities of productive activity.  He thought there was great scope for it, and he cordially re-echoed the sentiment of the chairman, that increasing interest would be taken by the community in that most important question, and that there would be found springing up co-operative societies devoted to production.  They would, he believed, tend very largely to diminish the risk of industrial strife; they were in themselves effectual means of education, and, above all, they tended to produce so much public spirit amongst those who were interested as members.  The amount of interest taken in public questions by the leaders in those societies, and the contributions by the societies to the promotion of education and other good objects were remarkable, and the best proof, he thought, of the moral effect of co-operation.  He hoped the exhibition would conduce to a fuller knowledge and wider interest in productive co-operation, and that in that district and others there would be seen a movement largely developed in a direction which he was sure would be for the advancement and progress of the community, not merely in purely material matters, but in all the higher social questions.  He expressed the pleasure he felt in being amongst the constituents he had the honour to represent, and a hope that circumstances beyond his control would no longer prevent his coming amongst them.  He wished all success and prosperity to the exhibition and to the cause it was desired to advance. (Applause.)

    Mr. Councillor Bottomley moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Cheetham and Mr. Moorhouse for the excellent addresses they had given.  All knew the deep interest Mr. Cheetham took in the borough, and many of them knew of the important office held by Mr. Moorhouse as a director of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.  He would like to give Mr. Moorhouse a hint.  If they extended the operations of the Wholesale Society, they might remember that there were eligible sites in Stalybridge.  He would be very pleased indeed to see some of the works in the borough.

    Mr. W. Wardle, J.P., seconded the vote of thanks, and Mr. Fawley asked Mr. Cheetham to accept a specially bound copy of the Co-operative Wholesale Societies' Annual.

    Mr. Cheetham said he must express his grateful appreciation of the kindly feeling shown.  He hoped that, as his friend Mr. Bottomley had said, the societies might turn to account some portion of the unoccupied land of the borough, which they knew was to be brought under taxation.  (Laughter.)  He thanked the society most heartily for the gift of the beautiful volume just handed to him.  He would study it with much interest, and treasure it as a proof of good feeling towards him by so influential a body of his fellow-townsmen.

    In acknowledging the vote of thanks, Mr. Moorhouse said he was not in a position to make any promise.  He would, however, report to his colleagues that Stalybridge had had a very successful opening of the exhibition, and that the town had further ambition in the direction of co-operative production.  Perhaps, when the time came for new works, they would get a look in.

    After the opening, tea was served to delegates from neighbouring societies and other visitors in the society's hall.  A vote of thanks to the society for the manner in which the company had been entertained was moved by Mr. J. R. Smith (president of the Co-operative Sundries Manufacturing Society, Droylsden), seconded by Mr. James Kershaw (president of Rochdale Pioneers' Society), supported by Mr. T. E. Moorhouse, and acknowledged by Mr. John Fawley.



    As the annual soirιe or concert was merged in the jubilee proceedings, so did the ninth annual children's gala, held June 12th, become a part of the celebration.  The weather was delightful, and the day a most enjoyable one, not only to the children, but to adults as well.  Children to the number of 3,010 had previously obtained free tickets entitling them to a bun and milk and a souvenir mug each.  Shortly after half-past one they commenced to move in procession from the market ground, accompanied by the Ancient Shepherds Reed Band and the Stalybridge Borough Brass Band.  At the head was a trap driven by Mr. David Warren, the horse-keeper.  Then came ten decorated lorries belonging to the Stalybridge and other societies.  Those of Stalybridge were driven by Messrs. J. Bullock, T. H. Daniels, J. Clements, J. Healey, O. Wardle, H. Norton, and C. Hodge, all of whom had contributed to the effectiveness of the display by the careful grooming of their horses and attention to the lorries.  The first lorry carried a number of lambs, representing the butchering department, whilst drapery was represented by a neat and attractive arrangement of curtains, rugs, &c.  Another lorry held a display of cocoas, chocolates, &c., from the Luton Works of the Wholesale Society, arranged to depict a motor car, and as the procession moved the wheels of the car revolved.  The Wholesale Society's Sun and Star Flour Mills were represented by a windmill composed of boxes of flour.  Following this was a lorry from the Crumpsall Biscuit Works and another with a display of health salt, baking powder, sweets, &c., in enormous tins.  Ashton Society had two lorries there; the first was very imposing, set out with butter, bacon, hams, and Star flour; and the second carried a very smartly arranged suite of furniture.  Hyde Society was represented by an equally smart show of furniture on an exquisitely decorated lorry.  The Co-operative Sundries Society, of Droylsden, had a display of the unrivalled "Beehive" specialities; Higher Hurst Society one of soaps from the Irlam Works of the Wholesale Society; and Hurst Brook Society brought up the rear with another display of products with a decorated lifeboat in the centre.  Following the conveyances came the children, girls first, carrying numerous union jacks bearing mottoes.  The route taken was Corporation Street, Melbourne Street, Market Street, Water Street, Caroline Street, Bridge Street, Stanley Square, High Street, Grosvenor Street, Acres Lane, and Mottram Road, to a field at Bower Fold.  At the field sports were held and there were several other attractions, the entertainments including Punch with performing dog, ventriloquism, mimicry, marionettes, a knockabout stilt performer introducing a giant woman, and clown with giant football.  Marquees had been erected by Messrs. Illingworth Brothers, and in one of these refreshments were served.  Amongst others present were about 40 children from the workhouse, who took part in the sports and other attractions.  Prizes were offered to and eagerly competed for by the children, and there were also prizes for the horses and turnouts.



    The employees' day out was, with the exception of the publication of the history, the final item in the jubilee programme.  Two places were selected, 37 members of the staff giving in their names for Worksop and the Dukeries, and the remainder, about 80 in number, for Chester.

    The teas and concerts were attended altogether by 5,030 persons; it was estimated that the exhibition was visited by 20,000, and the gala by some thousands in addition to the children who had obtained tickets.



    It has been shown that we came into existence as a society in a very small way, but in the hands of careful nurses.  When our pioneers sought the advice of those of Rochdale in 1850, our Rochdale friends wrote, through Mr. William Cooper, himself undoubtedly a careful man, that they thought business could be commenced in Stalybridge earlier than had been proposed; but our stalwarts made sure of their position, and when they did start it was in no haphazard manner.

    Some of those pioneers, such as Mr. John Bramall, Mr. W. Evans, and Mr. Hugh Wilson, we still have with us.  In the troublous times of the early 'sixties members went to Mr. Bramall saying they were sure the society would go down, and asking if he intended to withdraw.  His reply was "No! I will not withdraw; I will buy your shares."  In some cases he did take over the shares; in others his confidence had the effect of reassuring doubtful ones, and so they went on, feeling that —

If the thing's to be won there's nought to be done
        But just keeping pegging away.

    They met with opposition.  So does every good cause when misunderstood.  It was stated in a recent issue of a trade paper that Turkey was going ahead.  One of the causes of its lagging behind, it was said, was that Turkish officialdom could not distinguish between dynamo and dynamite.  The result was the prohibition of electric tramways.  But Turkey is getting its tramways.

    On the foundation laid by such staunch members has been raised the present superstructure.  This jubilee year we are stronger than at any other time in our history.  May we go on remembering, with Pope, that —

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

and, as Abraham Lincoln pleaded,

    With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in.







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