Saturday, March 31, 2012

Road or it that Lane Re-opened

Hardy Lane at night
At last the roadworks are gone, the road re-opens again. But when the construction team comes to lay down the tram track then severe distruption will be for months. The picture is at night and has a quality like an oil painting, yes it is blurred. That's the bookies at the corner of Hardy Lane and Barlow Moor Road. Need to take more photographs for this junction will change forever.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Butter of Empire

CWS empire butter
The advertisement is from Friday 17th April 1931 in the Manchester Guardian. Another in the series of Foods of The Empire. It says it is the first direct consignment, presumably from New Zealand to the Manchester Ship Canal. The S.S. Surrey was a steamship of the New Zealand Shipping Company. Built in 1919, with a tonnage 8,580 and like many of their ships was named after an English county. The ship was sunk in 1942 in the Second World War.

The New Zealand Produce Association had offices in Tooley Street, London and was set up by the CWS and the Marketing Association of New Zealand in 1922 after a visit by a CWS delegation to New Zealand. It served importers of agricultural produce which the CWS required for its factories. An international co-operative undertaking by both producers and consumers.

Links : New Zealand Shipping Company History

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guild Purchases Competition

co-op guild purchases
The photograph is of a handsome cup and it is going to awarded to the co-operative guild that has made the most purchases over the last six months. Twenty four out of the thirty three guilds entered in 1949, that would include women's and mixed guilds. Maybe three of the men's guilds did too.

There was a meeting in the large hall at the Downing Street, Ardwick to announce the winners. Well Barlow Moor Mixed Guild nor Chorlton Women's Guild receive a prize. That was claimed by Yew Tree Women's Guild with an average purchase of £53 13s 10¾d. In modern decimal money that's about £53.68p, not sure about those three farthings. If use the National Currency Currency Converter has the spending power of £1,223 today. No respresentitive from the Yew Tree Guild was present that Friday 2nd December 1949 so arrangements had to be made to pass it on.

Suppose you want to know who came second, well that was Cornbrook Mixed Guild, and third was the previous year's winner Greenheys Mixed Guild. "Trade continues to move forward and at the present time the Society was recording no less than £13,000 per week increase" said Mr. J. Clarke JP who announced the winners.

Reference : Manchester & Salford Co-operative Herald January 1950, page 26.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Road or is that Lane Closure

I haven't taken this photograph. There is a good snapper out there recording the real world, doing a better job than myself, and there is a great website where you can upload images for every square on the OS grid map.

Hardy Lane is behind those red and white barriers. It's one of those cold but bright winter's day that we photographers love 'cos the sharp contrast and long shadows. You may want to compare this to all of thirty six years ago in an earlier post.

Photo credit : © Copyright Phil Champion and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. Thank you for your comments and your photos, much appreciated.

Links : covers this area, 113 photographs to date...I live in a nearby grid square and no one has uploaded yet, looks like I've got another task to do.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cocoa of Empire

This is the second in the series of "Food of Empire". The co-operative societies fully participated in importing and promoting victuals from the distant colonies and dominions. Not only that they owned the plantations, had depots and agents in the cities of the Empire.

The English and the Scottish CWS opened a cocoa factory in Dallow Road, Luton, in 1902. Like the British Empire it is gone now, demolished early in 1970. It is now a site of the Guardian Business Park, near the junction with Vernon Road. The poster dates from 1906 and is a contrast between an idealised view of work in West Africa and the impressive building with smoking chimney to demonstarte a hive of industry in Luton.

Nowadays the cocoa and chocolate is advertised as a Fairtrade product, the workers in West Africa have their own co-operative, but no sign of any factories in the UK, or wherever it is processed in the EU.

Links :
Divine Chocolate
Teas of Empire - previous post

150 years in 2013

Co-operation can always celebrate an anniversary, and 2013 will be the 150th Anniversary of The Co-Operative, or as it used to be known the Co-Operative Wholesale Society dating from the 10th October 1863 in Manchester.

Work is already under way by some professional historians at Universities in Liverpool to produce a book. Another book? Well as they point out in this initial article co-operation has been ignored for too long in the media, and in the school curriculum....

Link - you can also download a PDF from here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First lorry

Pagefield Lorry 1909
This is the first M&S Co-op lorry purchased in 1909. It's a Pagefield two-ton truck which was manufactured by Walker Brothers in Wigan. The story reads "The Society's first motor and its first load. This will as be seen a precious cargo of the celebrated and unequalled Crumpsall Cream Crackers......At the head of the motor is Mr. Brierley, the society's stable superintendent. He has a great admiration for horses, but he speaks very highly of the motor and its work."

To me it looks like a flat bed lorry and I'm thinking all that work needed to load it and then handball all those boxes off into the warehouse. No pallets and forklift trucks back then.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Horse Transport

Horses 1929
Horses 1929
We're back here in 1929 when the Hardy Lane store opened. There was a small stable block at the back of the shop completed over 18 months the shop opened. It's a familiar story of having to get the builder back to complete the job after promising to finish the construction. It was still standing until the recent re-modelling of the premises though the couple of horses that would have stabled had been long been put out to pasture.

There are those who are still with us who can still remember horse drawn transport of food, fuel and sundries. Not just home deliveries of bread, coal and milk but the transportation of supplies from depots to the shops.

In these photographs the M&SE Co-op are shewing off just a few of their working horses, and they had over seventy, for a May Day parade. There was a large procession under grey skies and the threat of rain. It assembled at Ardwick Green and went to Belle Vue to hear the speeches.

Wish I knew more about horses, you know breeds, hands height, and all that harness work. However you can still appreciate that attraction of looking at and being near horses. They add to any parade.

The M&SE founded in 1859 adopted home deliveries within their first year of existence. It was free of charge which has never been the norm in grocery retail. At first it was just a handvan, but several months later this was supplemented with a horse and cart.

"It was soon seen that if the business was to be substantially expanded then some means must be found to save members the inconvenience of carrying their purchasing any distance, and when this was obviated by buying a horse and van the further need arose of establishing branches nearer to cater for members as near to their homes as possible."

Home delivery wasn't a luxury for the carriage trade and the well healed middle classes it was used by working class customers. The first M&SE Co-op was in the densely populated area of terraced houses, mills and foundries of Ancoats.

When this co-op society expanded onto the new housing estates the delivery service came too. Also another branch at the south of the estate, on Merseybank Avenue was established. Same as back in 1859-60.

References : Manchester & Salford Herald 1909 page 150. The Manchester Guardian January 8th 1909. These are articles at the time the Society's Golden Jubilee.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trip to the Co-op Archives

First M&S Herald
Photograph is of what I believe is the first edition of the Manchester & Salford Co-operative Monthly Herald. This was the longest running of all members monthly magazines by any co-operative society. It was given free to customers. I understand it ceased around 1960. It is the source of much research, and fortunately a whole year's worth were bound into volumes which makes trawling for information easier.

Had a trip into town, and booked a slot to visit the Co-operative archives. Oh I miss the old days of when you could just wander around a basement of old co-operative material, make a few photocopies and go home. Now you have request material in advance. That's the way archives have gone. No more stumbling over some publication that takes your eye.

As you can see the front page is a little torn and held together with yellowing sellotape. The other copies for that year have had the pictures cut out. But you get to touch history and not a facsimile. That ephemera has survived is chance. Meanwhile outside the new Co-operative HQ is being built over the way. Took some photographs. It is going to be impressive building.

Related link : Co-operative Archives

Friday, March 16, 2012

Politics and Publicity

I've done two previous posts on the Co-operative Rose Queen and the magnificent landau, now I've found another. It is from 1936, and yet another Chorlton girl Hilda Omerod is the "Queen".

"Politics and publicity were oddly mixed in the mile-long procession of decorated cars and gaily dressed children which wound its way from Ardwick Green to Platt Fields in a mass demonstration for Co-operators' Day on Saturday."

The event was organised jointly by the M&S Co-op Society's Co-operative Party and the Manchester and District Co-operative Party. It took place on the first Saturday of July which is International Co-operative Day. It still is, the first one was in 1923.

The two-horse landau gets a mention...."once the carriage of the Lord Mayors of Manchester. The horses still wore the city arms in their harness, and 'they do enjoy following a good band,' said J. Railton, their coachman...
Eccles 1935 International Co-op Day
Besides the floats and the bands there were some political speeches, and two resolutions passed by the crowds listening. Once of them condemned the National Government for abandoning sanctions against Italy. These had been announced during the Second Italo-Abyssian War. That's one Mussolini had won in May, and Emperor Haile Selassie went into exile in Britain with the gold reserves. The National Government had a policy of appeasement of fascist dictators Mussolini, Hitler and later Franco.

Source : Manchester Guardian Monday July 6th 1936.
Picture : Eccles Co-operative Record August 1935 page 183. A horse drawn float from a previous International Co-operative Day pageant.

Related Posts :
Queen For The Season
Longford Park

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Civic Pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credits : Mickey Ashworth Flickr Photos

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Minerals as in pop

Jewsbury & Brown
The advert is for J and B Mineral Waters by the veritable Manchester institution of Jewsbury and Brown who had their main factory and laboratories at Ardwick Green. It was a short walk around the corner to the M and S Equitable Co-Op's head office and central stores on Downing Street, Manchester. The Victorian building remains reduced to the three storeys from the glory of five storeys.

They sold aerated waters, colloquially we call it "pop", soda water, ginger beer and cordials throughout Lancashire. It merged into Schweppes in 1964. Their old bottles and other memorabilia are sought after by collectors of such ephemera.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teas of Empire

Picking Empire Grown Tea
Co-operative Tea
If you subscribe to enough email updates of other bloggers then occasionally something will surprise you.

An interesting one is Curatorial Space which is behind the scenes at Manchester City Art Gallery. This led to looking at their online collection of Empire Marketing Board posters. That's one on the left by H.S. Williamson from the 1930's.

As a way of contrast there is a E&SCWS postcard below, from around the same time. The artwork is not as sharp and crisp as the one by the E.M.B.  Both shew tea picking by women wearing no shoes and a few bangles, and I'm guessing in Ceylon.

Produce from the Empire wasn't just foreign imports it was highlighted as a selling point of quality and very British to eat. For example Australian tinned fruit, Canadian flour, New Zealand lamb, and bananas from the West Indies.

It is all a bit suspect to modern sensibilities, but for a historian you tell the story of the propaganda of that age without endorsing the values.

The Empire Marketing Board commissioned these posters from 1926-1933 to promote trade and understanding between empire countries, but they are in essence propaganda that sends out a message of industry, nourishment and civilisation as seen from the powers in London. This view persisted until the trading patterns changed with Britain's entry to the Common Market (later called the EEU, now the EU) in 1973.

The English & Scottish CWS appear to have joined in with a series of picture postcards depicting work on the Co-operative's own tea estates.

If you wish to see the E.M.B. posters, and there are at least 200 of them then browse over to the Flickr collection. The quality of the paintings is superb. As a side note there are a four posters about imports and exports with the Irish Free State.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Frozen Food 1950's

Frozen Food 1950 at the Co-op
Having a few items in the freezer is taken for granted. But back in the 1950's it was a novelty for Britain. Most people then didn't have a refrigerator with its small compartment for frozen food. Just keeping butter and milk cool in summer was down to having a decent larder or a piece of furniture in the kitchen called a meat safe.

The picture is from 1950 and shews the Co-op employee at the Great Western Street branch talking up the merits of frozen food to the busy housewife. Note the chest freezer with whatever is inside buried in the dark. The selling point then and now has always been economy & convenience - there is no waste, and you don't have to wash and peel the vegetables - the birth of the ready meal. The M and S Co-op could announce "no less than 44 of our grocery branches now have a refrigerator which carries a stock of fruit, vegetables, or frozen fish fillets. Why not give yourself a treat and try the new flavour of quick-frozen foods?"
ice cream 1950
We all have to thank Clarence Birdseye with lots of help from his wife Eleanor for this. Their experiments in the kitchen to bring the winter of Labrador to the summer of New England by mechanical means gave the world quick-frozen food. That was back in the early 1920's. It took years and millions of dollars of development before it arrived into small grocery stores. Now you take it for granted. However you have to have a whole separate logistics of warehousing, transporting, and retail cabinets to move food at minus 21 degrees celsius from the factory to the home.

Home refridgerators with their tiny icebox were still an expensive purchase for those on workers wages. So the ice cream would have to eaten within an hour or so of purchase.

I would recommend reading the development of Birds Eye in the UK from 1946 to become market leader if you want to know more about the frozen food industry.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quiet Setting

The photograph is dated August 1975 and shews a tree lined Hardy Lane being the wide cul-de-sac that it is. You have to thank Mr. A. Dawson who took his camera around Manchester in the 1970's taking snaps of ordinary buildings and streets. Even when you do this today you catch some strange looks off passers-by, and maybe he got some odd looks too.

At present we can't go and recreate this scene because of the roadworks blocking Hardy Lane, see the previous post.

Photo : m17868 Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council. Link

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Road Closure

Traffic Chaos Hardy Lane
A photograph taken from the upstairs in the Co-Op Rooms at Hardy Lane. The road is closed, Barlow Moor Road is reduced to single lane traffic, and the trees have been felled on Mauldeth Road West.

Monday, March 5, 2012

National Loaf or Hovis

Yet another post about the National Loaf. If you read the history you'd believe it was the only bread available during WW2. So I asked someone who lived through the war years as a young girl. What was the bread like in the war? They could only recall eating Hovis. Now memory is deceptive. But it is true Hovis was available and was advertised in the newspapers.

Hovis was sold at co-operative stores, and other shops, for it had an interesting business model. Your local bakery bought the patented flour from Hovis, along with the baking tins indented with the Hovis name. Thus the bread was clearly marked as a Hovis loaf a popular and respected brand.

What is different about Hovis flour is the addition of partially cooked wheatgerm and salt. The display advertisements mention Macclesfield, which was the home of Hovis which commenced in 1886. Nearer to home there is a large mill and grain elevator in Trafford Park which manufactured Hovis flour from 1914. If you visit the Imperial Museum North you can't miss seeing the mill with its large concrete silos. It was severly damaged in the Blitz of 1940 but subsequently repaired.

Now just when you think you know all about a subject, even a tiny subject of the National Wheatmeal Bread then along comes another fact that changes your understanding of the history.

Related links : The National Loaf

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Bridge on the Mersey

The map shews a new bridge to carry the new tram route to Manchester Airport. It takes a straight route from the end of the Hardy Lane as a roadway across the meadow land to the River Mersey. The old footbridge to Jackson's Boat can be seen north of the new tram route. This will be all be completed by 2016. It's been a long time since the plans were first proposed. So long ago it has become a distant memory of when I did work in Wythenshawe and they were announced. But work has started, it is no longer a description on paper and those are real foundations in the photograph.
New Bridge over River Mersey

The Open Street Map people have gone forward in time and have put the new route onto the existing road layout. Bridge building, even just footbridges, used to be such a massive engineering achievement but if you think how many have been opened in recent years over the River Mersey, the River Irwell in Manchester and the River Thames in London it is fairly commonplace.

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