Did you shop at this old Co-op? Museum wants your memories
THE Black Country Living Museum is appealing to Bugle readers for their memories of the Halesowen and Hasbury Co-operative Shop.
The Tipton Road attraction plans to recreate the number 11 ‘Hawne’ branch of the Halesowen & Hasbury Industrial Co-operative Society as part of its ambitious new development project ‘Forging Ahead’, which is due to be completed in 2022.
Complementing the existing late Victorian and 1930s streets, the new street will recreate the period from the 1940s to the 1960s, with many buildings from across the Black Country already earmarked for rebuilding at the site.
The project’s organisers are currently calling out for any memories of the Halesowen and Hasbury Cooperative Shop prior to 1969.
Co-op shops were once very popular right across the country, with dozens of outlets in the Black Country, stocking household names as well as their own brands.
The museum seeks to recreate this particular shop as an early example of self service shopping, a concept that Co-op shops were at the forefront of.
When the Hawne branch began offering self-service the concept was in its infancy in this country and promoted as modern, but many complained about the loss of personal contact.
The Co-operative movement was founded on the principle of members sharing in the profits of each society and this came in the form of the ‘divi’ or dividend, based on the amount of purchases made by each member. These payments were popular with customers and most knew their divi number off by heart.
Claire Weston, curator at the museum, told the Bugle:
“This is a particularly important building as it marks a huge step change in the way people from the Black Country shopped. This type of shopping was a completely new and unknown way to purchase groceries and while it seems ordinary to us now, would have been rather novel in 1949. People were used to picking their groceries from behind a counter.”
Did you or anyone in your family shop at the Stourbridge Road shop? Do you remember your Halesowen & Hasbury ‘divi’ number and where you collected your share from? Did you shop at other Halesowen & Hasbury Co-ops? Please get in touch with the Black Country Living Museum by emailing collec[email protected] or call 0121 557 9643.
The Number 11 Hawne Branch of Halesowen & Hasbury Industrial Co-operative Society