In July 1983 the material was deposited on permanent loan by Mr. N. Smith, Member Relations Officer, Norwest Pioneers Society Ltd.
This is true of all the items in the Collection apart from those at 1/7 which were donated to the Library Service by the Rochdale Pioneers' Educational Department in 1960.
DEPOSITED BY MR GREEN-MEMBERS RELATION SECRETARY 1991
Administrative / biographical background:
In 1844 the "Rochdale Pioneers" began what is generally regarded as the first successful Co-operative retail venture. As the Pioneers expanded other societies mushroomed throughout the area until the principles of co-operation spread all over Great Britain and gradually encompassed the globe.
In 1875 the Rochdale Provident Society broke away from the Pioneers forming their own highly successful co-operative venture. Other local societies such as those at Milnrow, Firgrove, Smallbridge (STEPS) and Littleborough flourished in the Rochdale area whilst the Middleton and TongeSociety, founded in 1863, served the town of Middleton and surrounding areas.
The societies enjoyed continuing success, but gradually it became obvious that considerable capital was needed in order to compete with the national supermarket chains. A major step was taken in the early 1930's when the Manchester, Salford and Stockport societies amalgamated to form the North-West Co-operative Society.
Rationalization had already been taking place in the Rochdale area. The STEPS (Smallbridge) Society merged with the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society as early as 1910 and was followed by the Milnrow Society some years later. In 1933 the Rochdale Provident Society re-merged with the R.E.P.S. and the Littleborough Societies amalgamated with the Pioneers in the late 1950's.
The Middleton and Tonge Industrial Co-operative Society merged with the Oldham Industrial Co-operative Society in the early 1970's and six years later the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society and the Oldham Industrial Co-operative Society merged to form to Pioneers Co-operative Society Ltd.
Meanwhile the Norwest Co-operative Society was rapidly expanding and in 1982 Hazelgrove, Farnworth and Walkden Societies all merged into Norwest. In July of that year the Pioneers Co-operative Society Ltd. amalgamated with the Norwest Co-operative Society to form Norwest Pioneers.
It was duly decided that all the minute books from the previously independent Societies should be deposited in the record offices or libraries covering the areas originally served by those Societies.