Co-operative history lives yet!

Having written All Our Own Work last year, the book on early productive cooperatives where the cooperative pioneer Joseph Greenwood was the central figure, I’ve been delighted to get an email through which tells me that his grave in Hebden Bridge’s Sandy Gate cemetery has been restored.

The gravestone had toppled over on to its front, leaving the grave unidentified. That’s now been remedied. My photo shows members of CROWS (Countryside Rights of Way Service), itself a cooperative, hard at work.

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Joseph Greenwood is buried a very short distance from another important early co-operator, Jesse C. Gray.  Gray, originally employed at the Hebden Bridge fustian cooperative, went on to become the Co-operative Union’s General Secretary at a key time in the movement’s development. His grave is marked by a marble monument funded by the movement.

Greenwood’s and Gray’s graves are included on an e-trail of radical and cooperative Hebden Bridge, available for downloading as a mobile phone app from http://www.pennineheritage.org.uk/Pennine-Trails. The trail is also available in booklet form from the local Tourist Information Centre.

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The Rochdale legacy

I won’t be precisely in the cradle of the modern global cooperative movement tomorrow evening, but I will be very close to it. I’ll be in Whitworth, just north of Rochdale, giving a talk in the public library there on nineteenth century productive cooperatives based on my recent book All Our Own Work.

The talk is one of a regular series organised by the library manager in Whitworth. All credit to him and to his library service for the initiative. 7pm start, by the way, if you’re anywhere near.

Book launch time!

My book All Our Own Work, which tells the story of one of the pioneering nineteenth century ‘productive cooperatives’ (workers’ cooperatives), is published later this month, and will be launched on Friday June 26th at the Co-operative Congress evening reception at Birmingham Town Hall. I hope to see many old friends there.

The Hebden Bridge launch takes place the following weekend, on Sunday July 5th at 1pm in the Hebden Bridge Trades Club. All welcome.

An exhibition to tie in with the book’s publication is being put on at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum (Toad Lane, Rochdale), and I’ll be there for the launch event on Saturday July 18th at 1pm.

So plenty of dates for your diary! More information on my website here.

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Past and present

It’s always a treat to visit the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, the quite remarkable collection of books and material from progressive movements of all kinds in Britain and beyond which was the life’s work of Eddie and Ruth Frow, and there was a particular pleasure in being there on Saturday for an informal gathering of cooperative historians, facilitated by the UK Society for Co-operative Studies. Useful discussions, and a chance to catch up on what other research initiatives other people are engaged in at present.

And as it happened the day before I was at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, in Toad Lane, Rochdale, also talking cooperative history. The museum will be hosting a small exhibition of the story of the Hebden Bridge textile mill run successfully by its workers in the nineteenth century, as a tie-in to my forthcoming book on the subject All Our Own Work. If you want a sneak preview you’ll find a short graphics-led account of this story which I have produced already available online on the Co-operative Heritage Trust’s website.