A thousand words to pick out the key dates in the history of the British coop movement… that was the brief from The Guardian, and my effort is now up on their Social Enterprise website here, accompanied by some really excellent illustrations from the National Co-operative Archive.
I am, of course, now a sitting target for everyone who feels that I’ve got it all wrong. Oh yes, there’s plenty of alternative dates which I could have included. Why do I mention, for example, the Hull ‘anti-mill’ coop but not the earlier cooperative mill in Woolwich? Why don’t I mention that the coop was the first to introduce supermarket shopping after the last war? Where’s any mention of Wales – what about the successful Tower colliery coop for example?
Well, feel free to comment and criticise all you like. The most important thing in the present troubled times, I’d argue, is to remember that the coop movement does have a very long history – and undoubtedly a future, too.