I was down on Saturday at the excellent Bishopsgate Institute in London’s Spitalfields for an informal gathering of co-operative historians, arranged by the UK Society for Co-operative Studies. As well as being taken down to the archives store (Bishopsgate has a strong social history collection, including much from the co-operative movement), we had the opportunity during the day to talk to others who are working on aspects of co-op history.
My own research, as I have mentioned briefly here before, is for a new book which I’m entitling All Our Own Work. It’s the story (a little-known one, but a very interesting one, I think) of a textile mill which was run during the later nineteenth century by its workers. It became one of the most celebrated manufacturing co-ops of its time.
We tend to know (or think we know) about Rochdale and the history of co-operative stores; the early history of what we would now call workers’ co-ops has received much less attention.
All Our Own Work is due to be published next summer, by Merlin Press. Don’t be surprised if I mention it again before then. It’s currently taking much of my time.