Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society

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Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society

The Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society was formed in 1868 for the purpose of purchasing or manufacturing goods for supply to numerous local co-operative retail societies.  A factory complex was established at Shieldhall, Glasgow, which produced a wide range of foods, furniture, clothing and metalware.  

Where possible, the Society tried to control its own supply of raw materials which involved the acquisition of grain mills and timber suppliers in Canada and a tea plantation in Ceylon.  The Society extended into service industries including hotels, transport and banking and the funeral undertaking department was particularly successful.  The Society also moved into retailing and either opened local branches or took over small local societies.

The archives of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society include:

  • records of local retail and other societies throughout Scotland, 1826-1980
  • various periodicals, 1864-1978
  • printed histories of local co-operatives in Scotland and England
  • printed rule books of local societies and other bodies, 1906-1974
  • papers relating to trade marks, certificates and patents, 1917-1976
  • minutes and other records of the Scottish Co-operative Women’s Guild, 1892-1984
  • records of the Scottish Co-operative Party
  • miscellaneous reports, correspondence and papers, many of them concerning staffing, wages and salaries, 1892-c.1975


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