The Newcastle Branch of the Cooperative Wholesale Society (CWS)

Event date(s)

1 January 1889


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.

Location/map point


Further reading

J. Birchall, Co-op: The People’s Business  (1994); J.F. Wilson, A.Webster & R. Vorberg-Rugh, Building Co-operation: A Business History of the Co-operative Group, 1863-2013 (2013; P. Gurney, Co-operative Culture and the Politics of Consumption in Britain 1870-1930 (1996); Joan Hugman, “Joseph Cowan and the Blaydon Co-operative Society: A North East model” in B. Lancaster & P. Maguire (eds), Towards the Co-operative Commonwealth: Essays in the History of Co-operation (1996) pp. 63-74; M. Purvis, “The Development of Co-operative Retailing in England and Wales, 1851-1901: A Geographical Study” Journal of Historical Geography 16:3 (1990) pp314-331; M. Purvis, “Co-operative Retailing in Britain, 1835-1850: Developments beyond Rochdale” Northern History 22:1 (1986) pp198-215; K. Friberg, The Workings of Co-operation: A Comparative Study of Co-operative Organisation in Britain and Sweden 1860-1970  (2005); L. Black & N. Robertson (eds), Consumerism and the Co-operative Movement in British History: Taking Stock (2009).