CWS had bought land on this site in 1890, then built and opened in 1899 a complex of warehouses, officers and meeting rooms which formed the nerve centre of the Newcastle Branch of the CWS’ operations in the North East Region. The Newcastle Branch formed one of three major centres of CWS governance in England and Wales, Manchester and London being the other two. Quarterly general meetings of the membership of CWS (which were the 1,000 plus co-operative societies which existed in Britain at the time) were held at all three branches within a few days of each other, and the Newcastle branch membership were frequently very outspoken on a wide range of issues. It was a citadel of British co-operative democracy. In this respect, it was the regional hub and nerve centre of the co-operative movement in this part of England, until well after the Second World War.
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