Breaking the Mould. Stoke.

Burslem Cooperative Building

The Burslem and District Industrial Co-operative Society building on Queen Street has two storeys and a basement. It has art deco stained glass in the upper storey windows and retains the Co-operative sign and crest of the BDICS.

The beginnings of the cooperative movement in Britain were in Brighton, and spread in the mid 1800s. in 1844 a group of textile workers in Rochdale set up independently, accumulating dividends which went towards a shared profit.

In Burslem a co-op trader, James Colclough, opened Stoke-on-Trent's first co-operative store in Newcastle Street. At the same time Fred Hayward became interested in the movement and in 1902, aged 26 years, he became their unpaid part-time secretary. Hayward's father had been involved in the Potteries Workers' Society an early mutual insurance club, and certainly influenced his son in social and community welfare and participation. At that time workers worked long hours in poor conditions, had large families and died young.

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Working in a potbank from the age of 10, and leaving school at 12, Hayward worked in a clothes shop and then returned to potmaking when he was 28.

But the Co-operative society was has passion and he worked there until old age. It become very successful in the region with clothing production, bicycles, milk, there were restaurants, holidays and even a chapel of repose. For all ages and stages of life the Co-op was there and it must have touched the lives of almost everyone in the area.

Fred Hayward went on to become Mayor in 1925 and was later knighted for his public service and pioneering work.

The buildings is currently an unused shop on two floors with basement.

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