Leeds Co-op: Jubilee History 1847-97  (3)
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1879.
――♦――

GENEROSITY A FORM OF PROGRESSLIST OF GRANTS TO CHARITIESA BAKERY SPRINGS UP IN A NIGHTITS PREVIOUS TARDINESSTHE PRUDENCE OF TAKING IN THE "CO-OPERATIVE NEWS"NON-BUYING MEMBERS DISAPPEARA WISE DEVICEDEATH OF A VALUED PRESIDENTTHE BUSINESS OF THE SOCIETY RUNNING ON CASTORS.


GIFTS not only show good nature but bring repute.  Influential members of the community, who never imagined that working people could largely acquire property, began to look favourably on co-operators who were not only prosperous but generous.  Grateful letters came from the Welsh colliers, who recognised in the aid sent them what they called the "co-operative spirit."  The Society had for some years contributed to six charities in the town, to which they had given the sums enumerated as follow, and lately increased the amounts as the reader will see in the second column—

 

£  s

 

£   s

Leeds Infirmary increased from … …

8 8

 to 

12 12

Hospital for Women and Children 

10 0

»

15 0

Dispensary   …  …  …  …  …  …  …

5 5

»

8 8

House of Recovery  …  …  …  …  …

5 5

»

7 7

Cookridge Convalescent Home … …

5 5

»

10 10

Institution for the Blind  …  …  … …

5 5

»

7 7


making a total increase from £39 8s. to £61. 4s.

    A bakery had come into the minds of the members.  Mr. Wilberforce announced that land adjoining the mill had already been purchased, and a bakery would soon appear upon it.  It seemed to spring up, like Jonah's gourd, in a night.  It seems odd that a great Flour Society should have existed thirty-two years before it thought of a bakery.  If indeed it was thought of, the thought took no form of action.

    The Co-operative News not being purchased by members as largely as the directors thought it should be, it was resolved to sell it at one halfpenny.  Shareholders in other companies, which probably lose all their money, subscribe to the paper representing their interest, whether it be 3d. or 6d., while co-operators, who have joined a company which makes money for them, without their subscribing any, are far less prompt to take in the Co-operative News at a penny.  Yet an official organ with a commanding circulation is an advantage to all.

There are in every society nominal members who do little or no trade with it.  At the end of June this year 2,836 persons of this description were struck off the list, which still left 16,554 trading members.  The amount forfeited by these cancelled persons amounted to £762, which went to enrich the Reserve Fund.  One day some ingenious person will treat non-dealing members as a second class.  Those who have once joined the Society must have some available good in them which might be turned to account.

    A system of purchasing checks from members in need, unable to wait for the day of dividend, often led to their checks being parted with far below their value.  To prevent this loss an arrangement was made for purchasing checks at the central office at fixed rates—a device which brought convenience and advantage to the selling members and profit to the Society.

    In March the Society lost a tried friend and hard worker by the sudden death of Mr. John Speed, who was at the board meeting on the 11th of March, and died before the next meeting on the 18th.  He had filled all the chief positions in the Society.  In the chapter on presidents a further notice appears.

    The directors were now thirteen in number.  Four new stores were opened at Carlton Hill, Whingate Road, Armley, Roundhay Road, and Roxburgh Road—all doing good business.  Premises were taken in Meadow Road and altered to suit the trade there.  Contracts were entered into for a new fireproof grocery warehouse in Manor Road, which increasing trade made necessary.  The corner stone of the new store at Whingate Road was laid by Mr. W. Baxter, one of the directors, and land was purchased for new stores at Lofthouse, Beckett Street, and Stanningley, besides the large plot of land adjoining the mill at a cost of £2,207, for further extensions.  The Society by this time had acquired a habit of looking forward and providing for the future.

    Store building lagged behind purchase, and use never lagged behind erecting.  The Tong Road store was opened.  The corner stone of the Roundhay Road store was laid by Mr. John Teasdill.  The corner stone of the Carlton Hill store was laid by Mr. Wm. Emsley.  Their names are carved on stone in the usual manner, and the record of their services is thus preserved.  Mr. Maynard was appointed manager of the corn mill, and won praise for intelligence and business capacity.  This year the business of the Society ran on castors.


 
1880.
――♦――

SERVICES OF DIRECTORS RECOGNISEDCONGRESS INVITED TO LEEDSA LIBRARY AND NEWSROOM ESTABLISHEDMR. FAWCETT APPOINTED SECRETARY AND CASHIERA BOARD CLERK ELECTEDANOTHER ASPERSER EXTINGUISHED BY FACTSTHE COMPOSITION OF PURE BUTTERMEAT SELLING STILL "INOPPORTUNE"THE GREAT SNOW NIGHTLOSS OF TWO LEADERSTHE SOCIETY STILL GROWING.


TIN checks upon purchases of flour were given to members only, and their share of profit was estimated upon the tins.  It now became the rule to give tins to all purchasers of flour.  The new plan was calculated to interest the outside public to become purchasers.  This was virtually a tin suffrage act.

    The £60 per half year awarded to directors was increased to £80.  The number of members had increased, assets had increased, the business had increased, the profits made were greater, and the labour of the directorship greater.  It was fair that those who were guiding the Society to larger prosperity should share with the members in the benefits.  The increase would have been fairer had it been larger.  The whole sum was little more than one penny per member for the half year.  The duties of the directors occupied them two, three, and sometimes four nights a week until 10-30 at night.

    Messrs. William Bell, R. Tabbern, and W. Baxter were the delegates to Newcastle-on-Tyne, to invite the Congress assembling there to meet, in 1881, in Leeds, which was unanimously agreed to.  The report that the invitation was accepted was received with pleasure, and the directors authorised to give the Congress a Yorkshire welcome when they came.  And it was given.  It was a memorable Congress in its way, but this is not the place to particularise it.

    Rooms were taken at a rental of £100 over the London and Yorkshire Bank for the purpose of a newsroom and library on one floor, and a room above for a board and committee purposes.  This showed that intelligence was becoming a commodity supplied by the Society.  The newsroom was well supplied with newspapers and periodicals, and was well frequented, and like the library—brought in the germ state from Holbeck—became popular.  A hope was expressed that members would see their way to make a permanent grant out of profits, to sustain these and similar rooms.  The Rochdale Society never had these hopes deferred, because they began by providing ample instruction for their members.

    The Board decided that the offices of general secretary and cashier should be united, and Mr. J. W. Fawcett was deemed the fittest person to undertake the joint duties.  He was elected unanimously.  A new officer, Mr. Tabbern, was chosen to attend the board and committee meetings, under the title of "Board Clerk."  Mr. Tabbern, in all his duties (and there were others assigned him), was a real co-operator who cared for the Society, who knew well its workings, and having good knowledge of business, of engineering and machinery in general, was much valued by the members.

    Some person who either knew that what he said was not true; or was too ignorant to know that it was untrue; or too negligent to ascertain what the truth was—sent word to the sanitary inspector that the Society was selling adulterated articles.  The inspector bought specimens of oatmeal, butter, and coffee.  The directors at once determined to have those articles analysed by the Bradford borough analyst, who gave certificates that all the articles were what they professed to be—genuine.  The butter was found to consist—

Water

 9.35

Salt

 2.78

Casein or Curd

0.45

Butter Fat

 87.42

 

100.00


    As this is the composition of good butter, the reader may be glad to have the analysis before him.

    Mr. Wilberforce read a report on the possibilities of resuming the meat trade, prepared by Mr. Thomas, who had visited many societies gathering relevant facts.  Subsequently Mr. Turner Tetley explained the subject in a very lucid manner to a quarterly conference.  On the motion of the Rev. John Bell, who could not be an authority upon the subject, it was decided that it was inopportune to recommence the business.

    On October 22nd occurred the great Snow Night, the only instance when the proceedings of the Society were arrested by the elements.  A quarterly meeting was called in the People's Hall for 7-30, Mr. Wm. Bell, president, and thirty or forty others were present, but not the required fifty to make a quorum.  Mr. Bell opened the proceedings and talked to kill time.  It was said no one knew better than Mr. Bell how to do that.  This was a very equivocal compliment, but it merely meant that Mr. Bell had great facility of speech and always an abundance of ideas on hand.

    In the House of Commons forty members are required to be present before business can be done; in the Leeds Society fifty is the number, and the meeting had to be closed.  It was night when rain, snow, and wind made a joint-stock tempest, night on which no one ought to have been out.  It was creditable enthusiasm in those who went to the meeting.

    A dreadful colliery explosion took place at Seaham.  The members at once voted £50 to alleviate the suffering families.

    The Society lost by death the service of Mr. W. S. Roberts, a director, who had been an energetic and useful member.  In another way they lost the services of Mr. W. Swallow, who had been secretary for about six years, and who had great energy and organising ability.

    New stores were opened in Beckett Street and Meadow Road, and land purchased in Somerby Street and Kirkstall Road for new stores to be erected.  Not obtaining support for their drapery at Bramley the store was reluctantly closed.  New stores were opened at Lofthouse, Stanningley, and Somerby Street, Burley Road.  The net increase of members for the year was 1,256.


 
1881.
――♦――

THE GREAT CONFLAGRATION—COSTLY ECCENTRICITY OF THE TOWN BRIGADE—SINGULAR ORIGIN OF THE FIRE—THE PROCESS OF FLOUR MAKING AN "UNDESIRABLE" MOTION—BUILDING AT CARLTON HILL—REPORT IN FAVOUR OF THE WHOLESALE—A FULL DRESS DEBATE—AN AMALGAMATED MANAGER—FORGED CHECKS—THE NEW BAKERY OPENED—AN INUNDATION OF MONEY—CO-OPERATIVE WATCHES—THE THIRTEENTH CO-OPERATIVE PARLIAMENT MEET IN LEEDS—TESTIMONY OF A MEMBER OF CONGRESS.


MANY of the leading "wise men " of Leeds no doubt were of opinion that one day co-operation would end in an explosion, but none expected to see it on fire.  This year they saw the People's Mill in flames.

    On the night of October 10th (1881) the mill was running up to half-past nine.  When the workmen left there was no indication of fire.  Three-quarters of an hour later flames were observed in the upper part, which spread with such swiftness that they baffled the efforts of those who were earliest on the scene.

    Mr. Wood, waterworks superintendent to the Corporation, in Manor Road, rendered valuable services, for assistance in a fire has money value.  Neighbourly help also came from Messrs. Marshall and Messrs. Emanuel and Son.  Employees of the Society were soon on the spot, and made heroic efforts to subdue the fire.  Had it been their own private property they could not have worked harder and with a better will.  It was the opinion of many there at the commencement, and well able to judge, that if the fire brigade men had not interfered with the Society's men, who had pipes fixed, and were playing well upon the fire, it would not have reached half the dimensions it did.  As soon as the town's firemen arrived they at once ordered the mill men to cease playing, and leave the place, yet they knew best where the most dangerous part of the fire was.  One man was actually inside the mill with a hose, pouring volumes of water upon the fire, and getting the mastery of it.  The men refused to leave their vantage ground.  To compel them to do so the town firemen turned off the water, unfixed the mill pipes, and put theirs on.  Thus fifteen to twenty minutes were lost.  In the meantime the fire rapidly spread, causing a large and needless destruction of property.  The town firemen could have fixed their pipes to other plugs in the vicinity.  These firemen acted as though they were grocers.  When called to a fire with which nobody has the means of dealing, they properly take command of the premises, but where machinery for extinguishing the fire is already in operation, and in the hands of workmen who best know where the fire is fed, it is silly to supersede them, and the fire superintendent should have been so instructed, if he had no judgment himself.  His business was to assist, not frustrate assistance.  The Fire Insurance Office should have brought an action against that pedantic red-tape superintendent for damages.

    The destroyed building was five storeys high, about 50 yards in length, and 35 in breadth.  The basement was occupied by three boilers and 22 pairs of stones, none of which were damaged except from the water.  The fire was first noticed in the top storey near the "stive" room—a compartment into which the hot air from the stones is carried.  There is usually an accumulation of dust in it, and the fire was probably caused by spontaneous combustion.  Such a room is always dangerous, and it was an oversight that it was not made fireproof.

    The Co-operative Insurance Company, in which the mill was insured, met with promptness and fairness the claims arising out of the fire.  They paid for stock, £4,000; for machinery, 93,000; for freehold, £1,500; and all expenses connected with the putting out of the fire.

    Stables and other old buildings were pulled down, and a large fireproof warehouse erected in the yard adjoining the mill for the purpose of storing grain.  It was thought better, after buying grain, to have it upon premises under control, rather than let it lie at railway stations or in the warehouses of the vendors.

    No one has a better right to be pictorially associated with the fortunes of the famous People's Mill than Mr. George Hyde, who entered the service of the Society as a miller in 1852.  He has now (1897) shared all the vicissitudes and triumphs of flour manufacture during 45 years, and is still in the employ of the Society, which he has served so long with fidelity and zeal.  There is an aspect of business integrity in his face, and the expression is that of a man who means things to be done.  Since the days when corn grinders were the subject of song, the public have had a conception of what a miller is like.  That appearance has never been defined, but Mr. Hyde looks it.

 

 

    In the process of flour manufacture, the corn is elevated 1,600 feet and wormed 566 feet during its various journeys to and from the cleaning machines, before it finally reaches the grinding stage, after which the flour and offals are elevated 2,626 feet and wormed 575 feet before being finally deposited into the various sacks for sale.  There are 546 feet of spouting for corn, and 2,582 feet for flour and offals.  And to drive the shafting and various machines no less than 8,321 feet of belting is required.

    The directors were overwhelmed with duties in addition to their ordinary work.  They had to meet nightly to determine upon new buildings and machinery.  The mill manager, Mr. Maynard, visited various corn mills where special machinery was at work.  Finally the roller system was chosen in place of the eleven pairs of stones previously used.  The Board resolved to have the best arranged corn mill in the country.

    Previous to the fire at the mill there had not been any fixed rules or regulations for the employees, as to the time of commencing and leaving work.  New rules were printed and hung up in the time-house and the various workrooms.  To the honour of the employees the rules are faithfully observed.

    The fire interrupted, but did not deter, the Society from progressive steps.  Mr. Swale brought forward the advantage of buying certain plots of land in Duncan Street, which the Corporation were offering for sale.  Everyone agreed that it was desirable to have a good position in the central part of the town, but the opportunity, for reasons which seemed good at the time, was let pass.  Mr. Tunstall having bought several of the plots offered the Society as many as they required, for £11,250, deemed favourable terms.  Mr. Campbell moved that it was "undesirable" to make such purchase.  The chance came no more.

    A considerable plot of land at Carlton Hill having been unoccupied for several years, three houses were built upon it at the cost of about £350 each.  Two were soon sold, and one was kept for the use of the Society.  Ten other houses were afterwards erected upon the remaining portions of the land, which soon found purchasers.  Thus one part of the business of the Society became dealing in houses.  Land was bought and built upon, and if members did not require the houses they were sold to those who did.

    A report was received from the committee appointed to consider the question of buying from the Manchester Wholesale instead of buying from private firms outside the movement.  The committee found that the Society could buy with advantage from Manchester.  The report was signed by Thomas Wilberforce, J. H. Richardson, Samuel Hargreave, James Swale, Isaac Earnshaw, Richard Tabbern, John Teasdill, Henry Maundrill, and William Bell, president.  The question was referred to a special general meeting of members by a quarterly meeting majority of six.

    A further, and what is called in the House of Commons a "full dress," debate again took place in the Philosophical Hall.  Mr. William Swallow moved, "That the Society join the Wholesale at Manchester."  Mr. William Baxter seconded the proposal in a cogent speech, observing that if they took this step many smaller societies would follow in the track of the great Society at Leeds.  This was the first time the term "great society" was employed at home.  At the end of a late discussion the motion was lost.  Managers of societies as a rule prefer to buy themselves.  The problem is how to unite integrity with interest and afford guarantees to the purchasers of the genuineness of the articles placed before them.

    An attempt was made to re-commence what had been declared to be "inopportune," the meat business, in the Kirkstall district.  Arrangements were made with the butchers in the district to supply the members, half bonus being allowed to purchasers.  But the experiment did not last long.

    Hitherto, the Building Department belonging to the Society (no other society save the Wholesale has a permanent building department) had been under two managers, one for the mason and one for the carpenter work.  At length it was found not to work satisfactorily, and Mr. Teasdill was selected to take the control of both departments.  By his assiduity and professional knowledge he was considered to have saved the Society hundreds of pounds.

    The Chief Constable of Halifax sent word to the directors that he had a man in custody for forging large quantities of metallic checks for defrauding co-operative societies, Leeds included.  The Recorder sentenced him to fifteen months' imprisonment.  As the case was bad, the Recorder ordered extra costs to the prosecutors.  The die-maker was strongly censured for making dies without ascertaining that they were for lawful use.

    A block of cottages and a shop were purchased in Hunslet Carr.  The shop was converted into a store.  A new store was opened in Cardigan Fields, and one in Tong Road, called Strawberry House, making the number of stores at that time fifty-three.  Out of the half year's profits £25 was voted for repairs and for replenishing the Library.  Not much, certainly, but it showed some increasing interest in education.

    The new Bakery was opened with the new patent ovens, which gave satisfaction.  Great credit was given to Mr. Smith, the manager, and to his staff for the excellent products they made.  The reader will see in some of these pages that the workmen are associated with the manager in the credit accorded.  This was quite a new thing when co-operators set the excellent example of recognising the value of those who did the work, as well as of those who devised and directed it.

    The directors were again inundated with money.  "Inundated " was the term used to describe this new distress.  No other movement among the working people than that of co-operation was ever "inundated" in this way.  Two directors, Mr. Teasdill and Mr. Swale, Mr. Fawcett, general secretary, with Mr. Tabbern, board clerk, were appointed to invest £5,000 in Leeds Corporation Bonds, which was done without any expense to the Society.  Had a stock or share broker been employed, his commission would have been nearly £50.

    It shows advantage of the exhibitions of the productions of co-operative workshops, that in consequence of Mr. Shufflebotham's excellent display of Coventry watches at the Congress this year a club of forty-four members was formed, and owing to Mr. J. M. Wilkinson's friendly activity £439 were paid to the Coventry Society in three years.

    Mention was made in the report of President Bell of the usefulness of the reading-rooms established in Boar Lane.  The average attendance had been good, excellent papers had been read, and profitable discussions had taken place.

    The 13th Annual Co-operative Congress met in Leeds this year—a memorable Congress in many ways, as we have said.  Delegates and visitors were alike delighted with the brightness and opulence of their entertainment.  Important business was done notwithstanding.  The present writer, giving his impressions at the time, said of the Leeds Society one cannot say everything at once.  The pens supplied by it for the use of delegates were broad nibs.  This has never been the case at previous Congresses.  The pens have always been fine points.  But in Leeds we did not require to put a "fine point" on anything.  The great Society makes a broad, clear mark in co-operative progress.  Each delegate was supplied with an "Illustrated Handbook," with a large map kept clear of detail and showing well the numerous co-operative stations within it.  The engravings in the handbook were interesting, as was also the literary and business information it contained.

    The Society is remarkable for vicissitudes and victories.  Many delegates, as well as visitors and strangers, were astonished to find that the mighty Leeds Society has upwards of fifty branches.  The large map they presented to us would not show them all.  Leeds is the "lion" society of co-operation in numbers and members.  What a splendid field to work in!  It may become the model society in all things—educational and "profit-sharing" for instance.  What can give so vivid an idea of the superb energy of Leeds as the fact that they are permanently engaged in branch building?  They have a considerable staff of workmen so employed, namely seventeen joiners and thirty-five bricklayers.


 
1882.
――♦――

THE MONTHLY RECORDIDLE CAPITAL IN AN ACTIVE STOREPROFITABLE SUGGESTIVENESSDRAPERY AND CLOTHING CLUBS DEVISEDRAPIDITY OF RESTORATION-FRIENDLY MILLERSA SPLENDID PROCESSIONCAREER OF A DRAYMANEFFECT OF THE DEMONSTRATIONPARTICIPATION WITH INDUSTRY STILL IN THE AIR.


THE Monthly Record of the Society, edited by Mr. J. W. Fawcett (begun 1878), has now become an established official organ of the Society.  Further mention of it appears elsewhere.  Its continuous issue is evidence of the tireless energy of the general secretary.

    The corner stone of the Rothwell Store was laid by Mr. J. W. Fawcett, when the members presented him with a gold watch and guard, and Mrs. Fawcett with a handsome gold brooch, as tokens of regard.

    Mr. Fawcett notified to the directors that more than £31,000 had been unproductive for the last six months, viz., land at Rothwell, £430; land at Carlton Hill, £600; money paid on the new grain warehouse, £11,033 (exclusive of the old mill land, £2,000); paid on account of new machinery, £8,543; investments in Carlton Iron Company, £2,000; Leeds Woollen Cloth Company, £2,000; Heckmondwike Manufacturing Company, £2,200.  These facts received attention.  Twenty-nine applications were received and accepted for advances under the building rules, amounting to £4,870.  Many were from Yeadon, where a large plot of land had been purchased.  Eventually the houses made one of the handsomest terraces in Yeadon.

    Mr. Hunn, manager of the coal department, who thought about the business as well as executed it, suggested that it might be profitable to bring the grain from Hull and Goole by boats of the Society instead of by rail.  It was decided to alter one of the coal boats into a grain boat, and the boat "Tabbern" was sent to Hull on the 20th February, 1882.  She brought back 350 quarters of wheat, which was a great saving in cost of carriage alone.  Then another boat was prepared, and called the "Goodall."  Then a new boat was built specially for the carriage of grain.  She was called "Baxter."  She cost £530, and would carry 500 quarters of wheat, which proved a further saving, and was better accommodation for the mill than it heretofore had.  Another instance that thought means gain, which members who oppose educational grants are beginning to understand.

    At the suggestion of Mr. L'Amie, the manager of the ready-made outfitting department, the directors were induced to establish drapery and clothing Clubs.  By this means the members were enabled to save a considerable amount of money.  The payments were 6d. and upwards per week.  One club, commenced in March and finished in August, bought to the extent of £1,204.  Another, commenced in September and finished in February following, made purchases of £2,470.  The total sales to these two clubs were £3,674 in one year.  No doubt a large portion of this money would not have been spent with the Society but for these clubs.  Another instance showing that thought makes money without hand labour.

    All concerned with the work of the Society displayed such energy that the erection of the mill and filling it with the best machinery that money could buy was accomplished within eleven months, and the Society was again grinding its own corn.

    Mr. Wilberforce acknowledged that thanks were due to the millers of Leeds for the friendliness with which they offered to supply the Society with flour.  Thirty years before, when the main shaft of the mill was broken, the millers would do nothing of the kind.

    When completed, the opening of the new mill was celebrated by a demonstration such as had never been seen in Leeds before.  A procession took place of all the horses, carts, and wagons, fitted up in a picturesque manner, showing the various branches of business the Society was engaged in.  One wagon was fitted up as a grocer's shop, with assistants weighing up tea, sugar, and other things.  Drapery and outfitting operations were displayed on another wagon.  The shoe manufactory was represented by shoemakers at work.  The corn mill had two wagons—one filled with corn and sheaves of corn on the top, another with flour.  The bakery wagon had men in their snow-white uniforms in the act of making up bread, and surrounded by huge loaves of plain and spice bread and massive meat pies.  The Baildon Brass Band, the Adel Reformatory Brass Band, Handbell Ringers, the Leeds Engineers' Band, the Rothwell Old Band, and the Cleckheaton Victoria Prize Band, making the air resound, accompanied the procession.  Good music was heard in the streets, as prizes were won at the Crystal Palace Festival by the Leeds musicians.

    The procession visited the mills, stores, and covered all Leeds in its march.  A great meeting followed.  The speakers announced by placards were His Worship the Mayor (Alderman Tatham), Lloyd Jones, William Nuttall, E. O. Greening, William Bell (late president), and Mr. T. Wilberforce in the chair.

    The reader will see adjoining the portrait of Mr. Dumbleton, who entered the Society in 1855, and was one of the first draymen.  There is an element of confidence and looking forwardness in his honest face.  Yet, when he drove the first co-operative dray, he could not have foreseen this brilliant procession in which he may be said to have been a moving figure.  He is still in the employ of the Society as cartman, and has helped to marshal still greater processions.

 

 

    The effect of the demonstration was to awaken an interest in the people of Leeds, transcending anything the Society had effected before, and a great acquisition of members followed—as many as 1,055 before the end of December.  The wealth of the Society, the variety, completeness, and attractiveness of its departments, when brought visibly before the eyes of spectators, impressed many as no arguments could.  Refreshments were to be obtained at the Horticultural Gardens, at cocoa-house prices.

    The share capital was increased by £8,594 this half year.  The turnover and profits grew in proportion.

    In response to many applications from members the loan account, which had been closed for some time, was re-opened, and 3 per cent was paid for all moneys so invested.

    With a view, it was stated, to introduce the principle of participation in profit among the employees, the Grocery Committee, of which Mr. Swale was a member, passed a resolution to recommend to the Board that 1 per cent of the net profits be given to the employees of the stores to be divided according to wages paid to each.  By this means the least boy in the stores, as in the case at the Woolwich Arsenal Store, would have an incentive to use his best endeavours to not only be more careful of the goods, but to be more attentive to the customers.  But the recommendation was not successful.


 
1883.
――♦――

THE LAW OF CIRCUMSPECTION—A TRIBUTE TO MR. TABBERN—SUCCESS OF THE MILL—A NEW KEEL ON THE WATER—THE LEEDS OLD POST OFFICE BOUGHT.


THIS was a year marked by gratitude and growth.  A valued servant received graceful recognition, and new proposals were considered with circumspection.  By too much hesitation profitable opportunities are let pass, but circumspection is a good rule to follow provided it does not lose sight of action, which alone gives it virtue.  Circumspection, when it degenerates into indecision, is mere fastidious foolishness.

    A proposal was made to commence a separate Wholesale Society in Leeds.  Mr. Maundrill read a paper in favour of it, and Mr. Swale read one in favour of joining the Wholesale Federation.  A committee of inquiry was appointed.

    The health of Mr. Tabbern unfortunately obliged him to resign his office.  An illuminated resolution was presented to him, recording—That the Board accepted with deep regret and sympathy the resignation of Mr. Richard Tabbern, clerk to the Board, necessitated by failing health.  During many years Mr. Tabbern had faithfully served the Society in various capacities as president, director, and clerk to the Board, and the directors record this expression of their appreciation of the value of the services he has rendered, and sincerely hope that by God's good blessing he may be completely restored to health and be a comfort to his wife and family.—(Signed) T. Wilberforce, president, John W. Fawcett, secretary."

    The new mill has now been working for twelve months with a general absence of complaints and a largely increased demand for flour, proving the great superiority of the roller method over grinding by stones.

    A question was raised as to the legality of making grants to the library, and no vote was made.  The directors took legal advice, which justified them in making grants in the future.

    The share capital at the end of June, 1883, had increased more than £11,500, and then stood at more than £203,000, and the net profits amounted to £22,746.

    With a view of extending the carrying trade, a large new keel has been purchased for £530.  All the grain from Hull and Goole is now being brought in the Society's boats.

    Fourteen applications for money, under the building rules, and one for a mortgage, amounting together to £4,441, were granted.

    The five through houses erected at Carlton Hill have been all sold to members, and five more, filling up the vacant land there, are being proceeded with.

    The glory of the year was an ambitious purchase made by the Board, which showed enterprise and judgment.  Further premises being required in Albion Street, and Messrs. Conyers, the owners, agreeing to accept £7,000 for their premises, the old buildings were soon taken down, and the noble pile erected which now stands on the spot.

    The corner stone was laid by the president (Mr. T. Wilberforce).  A tea and public meeting in the Albert Hall celebrated the event, when Mr. Wilberforce was presented with a framed portrait, in oils, of himself, a gold watch, an albert guard, and a timepiece and bronze ornaments.

    Thus briefly the chief events of the year may be told, but their significance is beyond the cursory reader's estimate.


 
1884.
――♦――

COST OF THE CENTRAL STORES—THE "CO-OPERATIVE TRAVELLER ABROAD"—DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW BUILDING—ITS FAIRY SCENE AT NIGHT—THE LOCOMOTIVE ON ITS MARCH—DISCUSSIONS ON THE SKY LINE—THEN AND NOW—THE OLDHAM EXAMPLE—PURCHASE OF THE VICTORIA BRIDGE COAL WHARF—SCENES ON THE RIVER AND ON THE BANK—HOW PROFITS ARE APPROPRIATED.


STEPS of pride and importance enliven this year.  Central stores with an arcade entrance were opened in Albion Street, an excellent mid-town position.  The architect of the building was Mr. J. W. Cannon, of Leeds, and the principal contractor Mr. John Schofield, of Dewsbury.  All the interior fixtures and woodwork were done by the Society's own carpenters.  The cost of the building (including the original site of Messrs. Conyers' warehouse), formerly the old post office, has been £27,000, most of which has already been paid.  The additional cost of fixtures and internal fittings, £3,500, make a total of £30,500.  Not long after the completion and occupation of the building it was visited by the "Co-operative Traveller Abroad," Mr. E. O. Greening, than whom no better traveller of that description has been seen about.  His impressions present a vivid picture of the Leeds Society at this time worthy of condensation and citation.  He regarded the career of the Leeds Society as the best example in the co-operative movement of systematic and persevering propagandism, inspired by the conviction that co-operation is something more than a business—it is a great cause.

    The leaders in Leeds, he says, set themselves to make converts.  Wherever a district has been marked out for the practical work of a branch store, meeting after meeting has been held to make the working people of the locality understand the meaning and the importance to them of the proposed step.  Many of the directors of the Society have given up their Saturday afternoon and evenings to this work.

    The "traveller" saw, with admiration, the triumph of this devotion in the noble pile of buildings in Albion Street, with departments so opulent, and rooms so numerous, that it is like going over a fashionable township.  "The glory of the Central Store is a palatial room bearing the appropriate name of the 'People's Hall,' where lectures and concerts are given, and public meetings held.  As the visitor passes the lofty entrance and up the broad staircase, the stores, on each side of him, filled with goods attractively displayed, are crowded with customers in front of the counters, and with busy employees behind.  If it is evening, the place is bright with light in every corner, and has almost the appearance of an elegant market, or continental fair, so gay is the scene.  Some idea of the trade may be formed from the fact that nearly £20,000 worth of drapery and £10,000 worth of boots and shoes are sold over the counters in the course of the year, besides the grocery sales.

 

 

    "Besides the busy shops on the ground floor and the great hall crowning the building, there are spacious and convenient offices, and an excellent reading-room which is also used for lectures, discussions, and entertainments, which are not expected to draw audiences large enough for the People's Hall.  This is a wise arrangement, for meetings which in a moderate-sized room would be counted successful are converted into dismal failures by being held in a hall five times too big for the occasion."


    No figures tell like the realities which the figures represent.  "Here," says the traveller,


     "in a yard under a covered shed is a great traction engine employed to take out flour to outlying branches about the town.  This mighty road locomotive is loaded up every morning with ten tons of precious human food, and steams away along the roads which wind over hill and dale around Leeds, depositing at each branch the quantity required for the consumption of the members who live in the neighbourhood."


    Discussions were raised on the character of the buildings in Albion Street.  Some demurred to the wisdom and some to the expense of an attractive sky line to the building.  But what pride would there be in pointing to the Central Stores if the roof was as tame and flat as the bonnet of a quakeress was a few years ago.  It was conjectured by some that the architect increases the expense in advertising his own taste.  It may as well be said that Christopher Wren made St. Paul's Cathedral the pride of the Metropolis—to advertise himself.  An architect of genius endows the town with reputation where his buildings stand, and endows those who cause them to be erected with a reputation for taste.

    If realities give vividness to figures, pictures give vividness to descriptions which the reader will find to be true, if he looks at the annexed delineation of the Central Stores, Albion Street, East side, opened July 19th, 1884.  It is a picturesque pile, which is saying a great deal, and its solidity and grace enrich the architecture of the town.

    The progress by this time became so apparent to the members that a comparison was made between the condition of affairs eleven years ago and now.

    Then (1873), the members numbered 9,071, the share capital was £49,649, the turnover for the year £182,474, and the net profit £14,778.  The value of freeholds was £29,129, and the Society had only eleven branches.

    Now, the number of members is 20,895, and the share capital £217,940. The turnover for the twelve months ending the 30th of June last was £498,578, far more than double what it was in 1873.  The net profit for the twelve months preceding June 30th was £55,832.  In the same period the Society paid as interest upon capital (to members) no less than £10,471.  The present total value of the Society's freeholds is £118,885, against £29,129 in 1873; and the value of fixed stock, machinery, &c., is £31,201.

    In 1884 the two societies in Oldham spent together no less a sum than £2,600 on reading-rooms, libraries, lecture classes, and concerts, for the benefit and pleasure of the members.  These facts were brought forward to show that Leeds should not lag behind Oldham.

    Report was made that the boot factory in Marshall Street is being enlarged by the appropriation of the old People's Hall, and that the directors have bought the coal wharf at Victoria Bridge for £10,000, which gives them a valuable property in the centre of the town.

 

 

    Of all possessions of man the most delightful are land and water, with vessels about—more picturesque than mountain or valley, and more serviceable, since water will carry you far elsewhere which valley and mountain will not.  Though the adjacent representation is but a coal wharf, it has pictorial qualities.  The boat is probably the "Tabbern" or the "Baxter."  The man standing so jauntily on the side of the deck is probably some Nansen in the service of the Society, who explores Hull and Goole in the interests of the corn mill.  There is a barge lying by whose destination is somewhere in the regions of coal.  There is life and stir all about the wharf.  The tall chimney sends up a cheer of smoke, its only mode of expressing its satisfaction at being in the picture.  Surveying the scene are substantial, well-managed offices, as I thought when recently there.  There are fourteen boats in possession of the Society, each carrying eighty tons, besides three grain boats.  The Society has sixteen horses, and in winter it has to hire twenty more, which are probably "boarded out," as the Society has no home accommodation for them.  The coal department includes twelve railway depôts, five on the Midland and six on the Great Northern Railways, and one at Burley-in-Wharfedale.  Seventy railway wagons are employed in carrying coal to the various depôts.  The opulence of the Society may be seen in many places, its outlying activity is nowhere more striking than on the bank of the river Aire at the Victoria Wharf.

    With a view to keep the number of members on the books correct, 2,655 persons' names were crossed off.  That number had been accumulating for many years, because they had not complied with the rules of the Society, which require a member to purchase to the amount of £8 a year, and the payment, within three years, of the shares required to be held by him.

    A further increase is mentioned in the June report of 647 members, bringing the present number up to 20,895.  The sales for this half year have been £246,859, showing an increase of £11,794 over the corresponding half of last year.  The net profit is £28,557 after paying interest on capital, providing for the reserve fund, and depreciation of property and stock, as is usual in co-operative societies.

    The manner in which the profits (£28,557) were disposed shows the general method pursued by the Society:

 

£    s  d

Dividend on flour claims, 33,070 bags, at 2s. 6d per bag    … …

4,133 15 0

Dividend on other purchase claims, £171,560, at 2s. 6d. per £

21,445   0 0

Depreciation of freeholds, at the rate of 1¼per cent … … …

 1,486   1 3

Balance to be carried to reserve fund    … … … … … … … …

1,492 18 1


Thus every member could see the profits were wisely appropriated.


 
1885.
――♦――

ACTIVITY OF THE FUNDLESS EDUCATIONAL COMMITTEE—COOPERATION AMONG CREATURES OF LAND, WATER, AND AIR—THE LONG-LOOKED-FOR MOTION—MR. FAWCETT'S CALCULATIONS—EXTENSION OF DEPRECIATION—NO FALLING OFF IN PROFITS.


THIS year opens with hope that a long contested question affecting the progress and repute of the Society is nearing settlement.

    The Educational Committee, not only fundless, but in debt, make ceaseless efforts for the advantage of the Society, and have arranged for lectures in connection with the Yorkshire College, free to members and the public alike, by which the Society contributes to the information of the inhabitants of the town and people in the street, who are neither members nor purchasers.  The first course was given by Professor Miall, on "Co-operation and Competition among Animals."  Prince Kropotkin has since shown that co-operators have much to learn from the animal and insect world.  The ants take lessons, the seals are educated, sparrows receive flying lessons, crows study military tactics—co-operators have plenty of examples of the wisdom of acquiring knowledge, not of the schools otherwise provided, but mainly co-operative knowledge necessary for the store and the workshop.

    At a meeting on the 7th of October, 1885, for the revision of the Society's rules, the chairman, Mr. T. Wilberforce, formally moved clause 123 for the setting apart of "a sum not exceeding 1¼ per cent of the net profits for an Educational Fund for promoting instruction and culture."  Mr. Swallow seconded the motion on the ground that those societies having an Educational Fund were the most prosperous.  Mr. Fawcett, the secretary, said that independently of the £100 granted by the members to the Educational Committee, the expenses for the last twelve months in connection with the reading-room and the loss on the Co-operative News amounted to £340, the loss in connection with tea meetings would be about £100, cost of Record about £50, and grant to Central Board, £60, making altogether an annual charge of about £550.  The net profits of the Society for the past twelve months, after deducting the amount set apart for the depreciation of freeholds, was about £55,000, which at 1¼ per cent would give a sum equal to about £700 per annum for educational purposes.

    It is an advantage to have a secretary ready-handed and ready-minded, who can tell a meeting in a minute all the relevant facts which should be in its mind.  Mr. Fawcett certainly proved that it was time the Society had a permanent Intelligence Fund unless the Leeds Society intended to take a back seat among English stores.  The clause was adopted as one of the proposed rules, afterwards to be ratified or rejected.  It will be a new thing to find it ratified after so many rejections.

    The following table is quoted because it shows the extension of depreciation of investments, and illustrates the constant vigilance and business sagacity characteristic of the affairs of the Society from year to year.

 

  £   s  d

In payment of a dividend on checks sent in for
        flour, 36,030 bags at 2s.  … … … … … …

 3,603  0 0

In payment of a dividend on checks sent in for
        other purchases, £190,860 at 2s. 4d    … …

22,267  0 0

In the depreciation of the Society's freehold
        property at the rate of 11 per cent… … …

1,804 17 9

In the depreciation of one of the Society's
        investments… … … … … … … … … …

1,000  0 0

Balance to be carried to the reserve fund  … …

469 12 3


    It seemed desirable to create an Insurance Fund for the Society, and the directors recommend that £2,000 be taken from the Reserve Fund as a nucleus thereof, which will enable them to save the premiums on a number of small properties, and one day may enable them to cover their principal risks.

    The turnover for the June half year is £250,086, the net profit being £30,170.  The turnover for the December half year is £245,248, the profit being £29,144.


 
1886.
――♦――

NO SUN OF FREEDOM SHINES ON IGNORANCE—AN EDUCATIONAL LEVY CARRIED AT LAST—THE CONTEST OF THE FRACTIONS—THE LOWEST ADOPTED—MR. HERBERT SPENCER'S JUDGMENT—AN IGNORANT SON FETCHES LESS PER LB. THAN ONE EDUCATED—INTELLIGENCE A PAYING INVESTMENT—MEAT SALES RE-COMMENCED—ALL SORTS OF PROGRESS BEING MADE IN THIS TRIUMPHANT YEAR.


CONDORCET has told us that "Under the freest constitution the ignorant are always slaves."  The majority of the Leeds Society have now resolved to end this risk.

    On the 31st of May, 1886, Mr. Wilberforce, president, in the chair, at a special meeting for the revision of rules, Mr. J. Robinson moved that the amount to be allowed for educational purposes be ¾ per cent of the net profits instead of 1¼ per cent as proposed.  The Record says that "much to the surprise of the educationalists this motion was carried."  Whether they were surprised at the smallness of the amount or surprised that any amount was carried was not stated.  Subsequently Mr. H. C. Hammond moved another amendment that 2½ per cent of the net profits be so appropriated.  This was negatived and the ¾ per cent adopted.

    It was a bold proposal, that the members should adopt the Rochdale rule, which made the fortune and reputation of the weaver pioneers, who permanently allotted 2½ per cent for the promotion of intelligence among the members.  Probably the ¾ per cent was made from a prudent forecast that that was as much as could be carried.  Considering what had gone before it was a great thing to get ¾ per cent put into the laws.  It raised education from a charity to a right.  Education is not contagious.  It cannot be caught, it has to be taught.  Intelligence is a plant that grows only in cultivated ground.

    Mr. Herbert Spencer has put it on record in his great work on Sociology that "Co-operation can only succeed according to the measure of the intelligence and moral qualities of those who attempt to carry it out."  Co-operation will never go forward without wisdom among its members.  There is no emancipation without knowledge.  Progress depends on good seeing, and good seeing depends on the education of the eye.  Education is not only a necessity for members, it is the indispensable policy of a co-operative society.

    It is singular that even an ignorant man cannot see that if the son of a workman and the son of a master were weighed in the scales, the son of the master would fetch more per lb., avoirdupois weight, than the son of a workman, simply because the faculties of the gentleman's son are trained and ready for use, and have the power of use, while the faculties of the workman's son have had no training, no development, and no capacity to advance his own interests, except in the form of hired labour—for somebody else's advantage and not his own.  Every co-operative society would be twice as rich as it is, were its members twice as wise as they are.  Co-operators make many investments, but no investment pays them so large or so sure a dividend as investments in intelligence.  No society which begun with provision for education in its rules ever turned back to ignorance, nor has any society that began without such a rule ever made one afterwards.  The Leeds Society is now the splendid exception.  Intelligence no longer lives on dole votes.

    The provision for intelligence did not arrest the progress of the Society, which went on with increasing momentum.  The sales for the June half year reached £240,504, and the net profits £27,228.  In the December half year the sales were £240,716, and the profits £27,509.  The Society went on buying land sacred and profane.  One of its plots formed part of the Vicarage Estate, Hunslet.  On one or more of the Society's estates a handsome chapel has been erected on land bought from the Society.  In June, it is announced that, after the elapse of many years, a commencement has once more been made in the meat business, though "the season of the year is most inopportune."

    The December report states that the Meat sales have been £7,685, leaving a profit of £740, which, considering the short period of sales, was considered promising.  Ten branches had already been opened, and others were contemplated.

    In October (1879) it is said "at last, after many years looking out, the directors have secured a suitable site for a store at Stanningley."  If it took "many years" looking out for a single site, how many years must have been expended in looking for all the sites now occupied.  But in later years if the directors did not find a site they bought an estate and made one.


 
1887.
――♦――

A YEAR OF LIGHT—TWO TEMPLES—THE STORES MANAGER SUCCEEDS—A PERILOUS INVESTMENT REJECTED—A GOLDEN ITEM IN THE BALANCE SHEET—FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS—A SPLENDID RETROSPECT.


LAST year was the year of triumph.  This, the 40th year of the Society's existence, is the first year of assured light, as the reader will see a new item in the chronicle of the appropriation of profits.  Leeds has left its back seat among the societies vacant, and now sits proudly in the front.  Some members write in the Record of a "Temple erected to the worship of bonus"—a mean place would be sufficient for that if such a temple had no devotees who looked higher.  A temple for the worship of principle, in which honesty is first and dividend second, could not be too chaste or too beautiful, like some of the Roman temples which were an inspiration when erected, and which people still gladly go across the world to see.

    Mr. J. Dockray, president, at the quarterly meeting of the Society, brought forward facts to show the advantage of a stores manager, as various economies and reforms had thereby been effected.  Further, about 400 volumes, mostly standard works, had been purchased from the Chapel Allerton Society and added to the library.

    This year the directors rather submitted than recommended a proposal to invest £2,000 in the Manchester Ship Canal.  They put the question on the sensible ground that the magnitude of the scheme gave it an aspect of national importance.  Mr. J. Dockray, the president, and Mr. James Swale reported the views of the directors, in speeches of moderation and good sense.  They thought the Canal might benefit the trade of Leeds and South Yorkshire.  Mr. Tabbern and Mr. W. Lishman supported an amendment which affirmed that the "time was inopportune," which was carried by 74 votes to 65.  The relevant and consistent opinion was expressed that, "as the Canal was a commercial speculation, if the Society made further investments they should be in co-operative concerns."  Mr. Tetley, Mr. Campbell, and others were against the investment, and the motion was rejected.

    It nowhere appears that when any investment is proposed members are asked to consider whether they are willing to lose the money if the concern turned out ill.  If such consideration were presented, those who elected to run the risk would prove that they supported the project in a generous spirit.  There would be no looking back then and no squealing if the money should be lost, which had been honourably risked with open eyes.

    A new check system commenced on June 13th, and was found to promise well.  The meat department made sales in the June period of £13,375, and a profit of £1,085.

    In the December half year a grant was made to the Dewsbury Congress Fund of £50.  In the distribution of profits (£31,141) in the June half there is a new item seen for the first time—"Educational purposes as per rule," £233. 11s. 1d.  The very fractions of so wholesome an item (usually omitted in this narrative) deserve to be recorded here.  The very penny is precious considering its uses.

    In the 81st half-yearly balance sheet for December the profits were declared to be £32,835, of which £246. 5s. 4d. was accorded for educational purposes, making a total of £479. 16s. 5d.

    "Forty years" is a favourite period in the Leeds mind.  The Benyon Mill men had it.  Now the Society has walked forty years in the wilderness where no manna of knowledge is, save in tardy doles.  How is it, the reader may ask, that members of the Society are not more prompt to sustain the co-operative ideal?  However admirably the leaders may desire to advance it, they can go no further than the majority of the Society will permit them.  Even the greatest general—whether Napoleon, Wellington, or Wolseley—cannot advance more quickly than their commissariat can keep up with them.  The provisions of an army must always accompany it.  Now the votes of members in meeting assembled are the commissariat, without which no directors, however able, can adopt measures which the honour of the cause and the interest of the Society require.  This is why a fixed provision of an Intelligence Fund (otherwise called an "Educational Fund") is an essential to great co-operative progress.

    This year was published in the Record the position of the Society as per annual return made to the Registrar, and its business and gains during forty years.
 

Number of members

 24,596

 

       £

Share capital … … … … … … … … … … …

254,875

Loan capital  … … … … … … … … … … …

16,148

Reserves   … … … … … … … … … … … …

10,200

Value of land, buildings, and fixed stock  … …

 196,435

Value of goods sold for 1887  … … … … … …

526,107

Net profit, after allowing 10,075 for interest
        upon capital, and £8,023 for depreciation of
        fixed stock and property … … … … … …

63,977

Total turnover of the Society from its
        commencement… … … … … … … … …

8,095,669

Total profit from its commencement… … … …

 684,760


    This is a splendid record of what has been accomplished by union, good sense, and pertinacity.


 
1888.
――♦――

THE DAWN VISIBLE NOW—LEEDS FAR AHEAD OF ROCHDALE—DEATH OF MR. TEASDILL—PRESENTATION TO MR. PRENTIS—STORY OF HEBDEN BRIDGE—CAPITAL TO SPARE—AMENITIES TO LABOUR-GOOD RESULTS ALL ROUND.


ABOUT this time Mr. Sam Bamford delivered an elucidatory lecture in the People's Hall on the Two Schools in co-operation, and said the "full dawn of a brighter day was coming up the steep of time."  A pretty figure of speech.  The Leeds Society has begun to see that dawn.

    Continuity of years bring an era of comparison.  In the race of progress, Leeds has outrun Rochdale now.

    In 1867 the turnover of the Rochdale Society was £233,944, while the Leeds turnover in 1866 was £85,068.  The comparison was against Leeds then.  In 1886 the Rochdale Society did a business of £216,000, while the Leeds Society did one of £480,000, or £220,000 ahead of Rochdale.  In all the earlier years of the Society the progress of Rochdale was of the nature of an inspiration to be imitated, if possible.  No one imagined then the day would come when Leeds would surpass it in this striking way.

    The regretted death of Mr. John Teasdill is recorded (manager of the building department), whose devotion to the work and interest of the Society rendered him a valuable servant.

    The directors have decided to abolish the quarterly stocktaking in flour, grocery, and bakery departments, as the objects for which these stocktakings were instituted could be obtained by less laborious but equally effectual means.  Leeds excels in business devices.  This last would be of service in some societies which do not always know exactly where they are when they have taken stock.

    Mr. Fawcett and Mr. Whalley presented to Mr. J. Prentis, on behalf of the employees, a purse of £30 in gold.  Mr. Prentis had then reached his 79th year.  There could be no doubt of the genuine regard entertained for Mr. Prentis, and the presentation was a timely spontaneous and graceful gift,

    Mr. Joseph Greenwood came Leeds way and delivered before the members the romantic history of Hebden Bridge Fustian Society, quite as strange and inspiring as the story of Rochdale.  Leeds has always lent a willing ear to narratives of self-helping progress, and in the annals of co-operative workshops, Hebden Bridge stands first in England.

    On the question of joining the Wholesale, which was again discussed, it was urged that some financial consideration had to be taken into account, since, owing to the dimensions of the Society, it involved the locking up of £12,000.  When the debate came on it was said that the £12,000 invested would bring 5 per cent, while the Society had large sums at the bank at 2½per cent.  But if anything went wrong they would be liable for the loss of £12,000.  The motion to join the Wholesale was defeated by a majority of one.

    In view of the large amount of surplus capital from the accumulated profits of the half year, the directors have decided to lend money on mortgage security of freehold, cottage, or other approved property, at 4 per cent, repayable at six months' notice.

    There occur cordial meetings between employer and employed in Leeds.  Some time ago the directors entertained 800.  This year 1,100 were gratified with a soirée, which only ended at midnight.  The pleasantest features of co-operation are its amenities to labour.

    The meat department showed an increase at the end of June of £5,989 over the corresponding half of last year.  Meat seems going up; but, ever fluctuating, it showed at the end of December a decrease in profit of £292, although there is an increase in the sales of £6,737.

    Good results have been obtained in the boot factory, 16,720 pairs of boots having been made during the half year.  A brush-making business has been commenced, with good prospects of success.  Owing to the good business judgment in which new projects are carried out in Leeds they commonly succeed.

    Reports published of the attendance of directors show their assiduity.  In the December half year of 1888 the president's (Mr. Joseph Dockray) attendance is 96.  The attendance of other directors only vary from 51 to 58.

    The sales in the June period amounted to £272,470, being an increase of nearly £10,811 over the same period last year.

    In the December half year the sales amounted to £287,340, an increase of nearly £23,000 over the same period of last year, the profits for this half year being nearly £37,000.  The total sales for the year have been £559,811, and the net profits £71,108.  The amount recorded for educational purposes, as per rule, during the June half year is £256; in the December period it is £277, making £533 for the year.


 
1889.
――♦――

PECULIARITIES OF THE PLUM MIND—NINE ADVANTAGES OF LOCAL CO-OPERATION—COMMENCEMENT OF THE WOMEN'S GUILD IN LEEDS—THEIR NINE BRANCHES—SOCIAL EFFECTS OF PROFIT-SHARING—NEW STORES ARISING IN ALL DIRECTIONS—BUDGET DIFFICULTIES OF THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER OF THE SOCIETY—GOOD ITEMS.


A PLUM has a skin, though very thin, wonderfully strong, which will resist the action of water and many solvents.  There are many minds of this description in every city.  The plum will resist the knife unless it be quite sharp.  So it is with many understandings.  They are impervious, except to quick penetrating facts.  In this history there are facts of every order of saliency, which, when they shall come under public consideration, there can hardly be any density of mental epiderm which some of them will not penetrate.  Now and then it is effective to sum up, in some pointed way, the advantages of a new system of association and business, which any one can verify for himself, and which are open to all the city.  Mr. Leach did this in 1889 in a most useful speech.  He set forth nine things in which co-operation had benefited the working people of Leeds.


1st. Co-operation in Leeds has made it possible for working men to
       
 obtain pure food at fair market prices.

2nd. It has taught the advantages of cash payments over credit.

3rd. It has given working men a knowledge of business they could
       
 not otherwise have obtained.

4th. It has enabled them to carry on a trade of £500,000 a year.

5th. It has made them joint proprietors of freehold property
       
 amounting to upwards of £170,000.

6th. It has secured them an annual net profit of £70,000.

7th. It has raised many a man's wages two or three shillings a week.

8th. It has relieved more distress than any other social organisation
        
extant.

9th. The Leeds Society has divided among its members, or credited
         
to their account, as share capital, during the last two years,
        
 upwards of £128,000.


    There is no resisting power in the ordinary plum mind which may not be penetrated by one or other of these nine facts.  Amid all the popular associations of the time, it is only a co-operative society which can confer advantages like those enumerated upon its neighbours.

    The Women's Guild commenced in Leeds, March, 1889, in consequence of a lecture by Miss Reddish.  Until John Stuart Mill's days there was no clear consciousness in the public mind that the best half of the social force of the world was lying practically unused.  Women had activity and influence, but they had no civil, political, or social self-assertion, and if they attempted it they were offensively rebuked.  Co-operation was always just to them, and gave wives property before the law conceded it.  Yet it was not until after forty years of co-operation that it occurred to the Society that the enthusiasm and wit, in which Leeds women excel, was an available force on the side of social progress.  In a board school half the pupils are girls, and no one can look after their interests like women.  Men have neither the delicacy, the discernment, nor the knowledge necessary.  In a co-operative society, where half the members are women, the same thing is true.  Reports now constantly appear of the proceedings of the Women's Guild, and reports of their visits to various stores, which they assist by their wisdom, extend by their enthusiasm, and enliven by their songs and recitations.  The branches of the Women's Guild in Leeds have only grown to nine.  The stores with which they are connected deserve to be enumerated.  They are Albion Street, Bramley, Delph Lane, Farnley, Haslet, Newtown, Rothwell, Stourton, and Bank.  The number of Guild members to be recorded in 1897 will be 250.

    The Educational Committee put down profit-sharing as one of the subjects it suggested for discussion.  Mr. Fawcett, speaking at Rothwell, said: "Co-operation rested on the conviction that labour did not receive a fair and equitable share of what it was so instrumental in producing.  Co-operation sought by justifiable means to bring about a better state of things, teaching working men how to acquire capital for themselves, to conduct large businesses, and thereby participate in the profits of trade."

    Additional branches have been opened at Bromley and Whingate Road for the sale of meat.  There are prospects now of making this reluctant and intermittent department prosperous and permanent, since land for an abattoir has been purchased in Gelderd Road.  Tenders for the principal works required have been let, and the erection of the buildings, including those of a grocery store and meat shop near at hand, are now in progress.  A block of cottages has been erected in Linden Street and Linden Avenue, on the Dewsbury Road estate, and plans are being prepared for another block to front into Crossland Terrace.  Extensions are the order of the day.  Last year was occupied in completing the various erections in hand.  Now all is movement again.

    The brush sales for the June half of this year are £726.  Larger premises are now wanted for the brush factory.  At the solicitation of local committees additional premises have been opened and rented at Idle, where the activity of co-operators quite contradict the lazy name of their town.

    It appears from this December report that members are reluctant to have their savings returned to them.  There is an increase of £2,224 in the Loan Account, some members preferring to transfer their surplus shares to this account instead of withdrawing their money altogether.  We find a special meeting has resolved that the maximum amount each member may hold has been reduced to £75—calculated to decrease the share capital by about £18,000.  The Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Society was again embarrassed by a Budget surplus, and having no army or navy in which he could engulf it, he was under the necessity of returning it to the members.  Working men never involved themselves in such distressing difficulties before co-operation began.

    The items always of cardinal interest in affairs of a store are sales and profit.  The sales for the June half year were £314,236, and the profits £36,608.  The sales for the December half year (embracing 27 weeks) were £324,986.  The profits amount to £41,533.  The members now stand at 26,348, an increase for the year of 1,130.

    The award for "educational purposes as per rule" in the June half year was £274. 11s. 4d.  In the December half year it was £311. 19s. 11d., which make the improving sum of £586 for the year.


 
1890.
――♦――

THE ABATTOIR YEARTHE FOUNDATION STONE LAID-ITS OPENING IN OCTOBERUNSURPASSED IN COMPLETENESSITS AMAZING BUSINESSA SMALL FIRE AT THE CORN MILLNEW PREMISES TO BE PURCHASED IN ALBION STREETNEW ENTERPRISES, NEW ALTERATIONS, AND NEW INVESTMENTSINDIFFERENCE TO PROSPERITY.


THIS is the year of the Abattoir, not so musical, but a more blessed word than Mesopotamia.  True, the oriental term "Mesopotamia" sounds like a charm.  But the French word Abattoir saves writing the word of horror, "slaughter-house," which belongs to war.  The death of animals is not brought about by malignity, but from a sense of necessity.  Once and once only, now eleven years ago, a correspondent of the Record signing himself a "Carnivorous Co-operator" (a voracious name) spoke of a "meat business."  My scruples, which go farther back, were shared by the "Carnivorous Co-operator."

    In February, 1890, Mr. John Leach, one of the directors, laid the corner stone of the abattoir or meat-preparing house in the Gelderd Road.  Mr. Philemon Rump said the cost, including the site, would probably be £12,000.  It was said "it would be a red letter day."  No doubt it would be for the cattle.  It had often been predicted that the opening of the meat department would be distinguished by success.  This time it has come true.  Mr. Leach was presented with a handsome timepiece and a writing desk, and a tea and coffee service were given to Mrs. Leach.

 

 

    The new abattoir for converting cattle into meat was formally opened for business on October 18th, 1890.  Considering how often this trade, had been attempted and how swiftly it had failed, it shows pertinacity and pluck to study, during so many years, the conditions of success and then try again when the conditions were mastered.

    There is no finer building (though Barnsley has a good one) in all co-operative England than the abattoir of Leeds.  Indeed so lofty, so spacious, so clean, so complete and convenient, are all the processes that animals, had they taste and public spirit, might be proud to end their days in such a handsome hall.  The reader sees its exterior in the adjoining plate, which shows the extent of the place.  If the plate could show the interior it would excite astonishment.

    The sales for this year were £65,104. 17s. 92½d., being an increase of £17,894 over the previous twelve months, or an average weekly increase of £344. 2s. 7d.  During these twelve months the abattoir dealt with 1,846 beasts weighing 99,915 stones, 4,151 sheep weighing 310,504 lbs., 845 pigs weighing 8,111 stones, besides a large number of lambs and calves.  From the pork department there were sent out 109,562 lbs. of sausages, 17,820 lbs. of polony, 20,164 lbs. of potted meat, and 3,972 lbs. of German sausage.  A tripe business has been commenced of which about 600 lbs. are sold weekly.  At last meat selling is fairly on the march, and during the last half year £3,842 of profit has been realised.

    The Leeds Women's Guild make reports denoting their wholesome activity.  They have established a class for dress-cutting, two classes for cookery (the teachers being from the Yorkshire School of Cookery), and one for clear starching, by a lady from the same school.

    A fire again occurred in the corn mill, by the explosion of one of the exhausts, in September, 1890.  The mill was running at the time, and the fire was suppressed by the Society's own fire brigade.  Possibly the town firemen were now better instructed than formerly.  However, the mill authorities were shy of trying them.

    New purifying machines were put to work in the mill calculated to produce flour of superior colour.

    New premises are to be purchased in Albion Street in connection with the extension of the Central Stores.  One hundred shares have been purchased under special circumstances in the Heckmondwike Manufacturing Company.  Important alterations have been made in the People's Hall with a view to obtain a music license.

    Enterprise is now always in the air.  Sites for new stores and a number of dwelling-houses have been secured in Roundhay Road and Back Lane, Bramley.  A valuable property has also been purchased in Meadow Road for the purpose of effecting much-needed extensions in connection with the building and other departments.  Unclaimed shares amounting to £1,047, representing 376 accounts, have been written off and added to the Reserve Fund.  Members seem to become rich and not to know it, or not to care about it.

    The sales up to June were £338,054, the profits £42,845.  We have now reached the eighty-seventh half-yearly report, which is the one for the December period.  It gives the sales at £354,381, which show an increase since December of last year of £29,395.  The profits available for distribution are £47,510.  The award for "educational purposes" was in June £313.  The award for December was £350, making £663 for the year.  It is pleasant to end a year with this item of good omen.


 
1891.
――♦――

THE PLEASANT MONOTONY OF SUCCESS—GOVERNMENT REPORT ON CO-OPERATIVE PROFIT-SHARING—MEADOW ROAD BUILDINGS—THE CRICKET FIELD, CAMP FIELD MILL, AND OTHER PURCHASES—BALANCE SHEETS ENLARGED—AN OLD PROPHET ASTONISHED.


AS our chronicle proceeds the reader will begin to feel a lack of the vivacity of vicissitude.  Moralists never cease warning mankind against the satiety of prosperity.  But human experience shows there is no satiety men enjoy so much.  Our narrative now enters upon the concluding years of the Society's half century, everyone being surcharged by the delightful monotony of success, of which no man or reader ever complains, however much he thinks he loves variety.

    New departments or new pursuits appear above ground, gratifying to the social economist just as new flowers delight the eye of the botanical explorer in an unfrequented land.  A Field Club is one of the fascinating pursuits of studious and adventurous members.

    The Women's Guild comes frequently before the readers of the Record, always engaged in some new activity for the service of co-operation.  It makes all the difference in the world to the prosperity of a store where women are the discouraging or the encouraging co-operative force in the household.

    One exception occurs to the uniformity of good fortune.  Owing to failing health Mr. A. Hunn has been obliged to resign the managership of the coal department after 23½ years' service.  Mention has been made of his ability and suggestiveness.  The Society received his resignation with real regret.  Mr. B. Bickerdike, from the office department, was appointed to succeed him.

    As participation of profit with those who can greatly contribute to produce it, has often been in the minds of directors and committees, the Record quotes an official opinion upon it.  In his report to the Board of Trade on "Profit-Sharing," Mr. J. Lowry Whittle says, 'Those employers who have tried it group its advantages under five heads, namely (1) reduction of waste of material, (2) superior excellence in the work done, (3) diminished expense of superintendence, (4) greater stability in the staff and consequential reduction of risk in commercial enterprises, (5) increase of practical information connected with the business, the workers being stimulated to aid the managing staff with suggestions as to improvements and information as to new processes.'  We cite this passage on profit-sharing because co-operators have made it from the beginning an integral part of their system.

    With a view to find a safe investment for increasing capital, a joiners' workshop is being erected.  There is industrial animation of the adjoining scene of the building department in Meadow Road, purchased this year.  The hands employed include bricklayers, masons, joiners, plumbers, and labourers to the number of 135.  The plate relates to the building department, and presents a clever arrangement of the stores and persons and carrying appliances of the works.  The joiners' workshops in another place have every convenience of spaciousness.

 

 

    A plot of land containing about 14,000 square yards, known as the Cricket Field, Hall Lane, Armley, has been purchased for the erection of block cottages.  A site for a store has been bought in Brudenell Grove and property in Church Street, Hunslet.  The purchase of Camp Field Mill has been completed, and the mill let to a tenant on a fourteen years' lease.  Memorial stones were laid in Elford Grove, Roundhay Road, where ten through houses are being erected, and another stone laid in Elder Road, Bramley.

    The balance sheets from 1858 to 1874 were on small octavo sheets.  Since 1876 they have occupied large foolscap sheets.  They often contain now "Comparisons" of six years of balance sheets showing the varying, increasing, or decreasing amounts if they occur, in some shy laggard department.  The general results are ever accelerated advancement.  The "comparison" section now referred to shows turnover, profits, share capital, number of members, bags of flour delivered, number of members bringing in checks.  A most useful comparative table—thus giving information and inferential suggestions to members.

    The profit of the June half year is £50,314, an increase of £8,469 compared with the same period of last year.

    As there was £1,000 of undivided profit brought into this half-year's account the amount of profit available for distribution was £51,314; as the Reserve Fund now stands at £17,619, it was thought advisable to transfer £5,000 to the Insurance Fund, through which a considerable amount of the Society's own property is now being insured.

    The award to education for the June half year was £377, for the December period £378, making £755, which would perturb certain tumultuous meetings of a former day.

    The December report is the 89th laid before members and it shows a profit of £50,489, making a total profit for the year of £100,804, which would astonish even that enthusiastic prophet John Holmes.


 
1892.
――♦――

THE LEEDS SHIP AND ITS TONNAGE OF DIVIDENDS—THE FARMING PROBLEM DEBATED—CONDITIONS OF THE LEEDS EDUCATION RATE—PARTICIPATION, A NEW SENSE—THE WHOLESALE, THE TWO SIDES OF THE QUESTION—YEAST AND EGGS COMMENCED TO BE IMPORTED—THE SPIRAL STORE OF ELFORD GROVE—PLEASANT CAPRICES OF PROFIT.


A SMALL leak will sink a great ship—a maxim well worth bearing in mind in the management of great concerns.  Manifestly, there is no leak in the Leeds ship, for its sailing capacity continues unimpaired, and it arrives at half-a-dozen new ports every year, buoyantly carrying annually a larger cargo of profits.  The Leeds vessel was constructed to carry any amount of tonnage in the way of dividends, but nobody save a few enthusiasts ever thought it would have much to do to test its carrying powers.

    The reader has seen the amazing manufacture always going on in the abattoir.  It would feed the whole kingdom of an average monarch.  A great general taking the field would be glad to engage the Leeds Society to provide his commissariat.  Meat branches are now opened in Armley, Burley-in-Wharfedale, Stourton, and Beckett Street, making the meat shops thirty-five at the end of June.  These shops are really pleasant to enter.  They have an abundance of light, air, ventilation, and are as clean as white enamelled tiles and marble can make them.

    Co-operative farming is, early in the year, the subject of a very exhaustive paper of information, signed by Mr. Leach (president) and others, on the position, experience, success or non-success of the principal co-operative societies in England.  The statement was laid before the Quarterly Conference.  Farming is like meat selling.  It needs the energy and perseverance of a Society like this of Leeds to discover the conditions of prosperity in dealing with the caprices of land and the irresponsible skiey influences to which it is subject.

    In March a special meeting was called on Co-operative Farming.  It appeared that within the last twelve months the business of the Society was over £800,000, and the profits had increased nearly £10,000.  This looked as if the Society could afford to increase its departments by a good farm, but it became a reason for proposing that such an enterprise was "inopportune" (a favourite word, as we have seen, in Leeds resolutions).  Again it carried the day.  However, the question of the Society taking a farm was decided in an entirely different way while the discussion was proceeding.

    Without waiting for the reconcilement of theoretical views on farming in general, Mr. Dean, manager of the abattoir, finds a farm is necessary in practice, and a farm was purchased in October, 1892, as an accommodation to the meat-making department for grazing purposes.  It contains about 74 acres of land, and is situated at Farnley, about three miles from Leeds.  Its cost was £3,948.  Meat-selling and farming have been the two cardinal difficulties of co-operative societies.  Meat-selling has been solved, and so will farming be eventually.

    The affairs of the Society were subject to an amount of criticism greater than the president had known before.  The prosperity of the Society was such that it could very well bear any amount of criticism now, and take time to consider any wisdom to be got out of it.

    In a discussion of the new education rate, Mr. Minnithorpe stated that the rule was agreed to with the understanding that the cost of tea meetings, the Co-operative News, and Record, should come out of that fund.  There was no harm in that.  It was good to have a permanent fund out of which such useful costs could come.

    Old salutary topics still ran in the minds of such prosperous members, who still thought profit could be made by equity to labour.  A remarkable illustration was given in the Record that the business would well bear such a change and be the more profitable for it.  The instance was the balance sheet of Brunner, Mond, and Co., alkali manufacturers, of Northwich, which showed a dividend of 50 per cent, in addition to £50,000 carried to their reserve fund and £36,000 carried forward.  Yet there was no share accorded to labour, though the frightful condition of the working people was well known.  Profit-sharing does not depend upon prosperity.  The sense of equity is in the mind—not in the pocket.  To accord to others what belongs to them and which can be withheld with impunity for the advantage of somebody else, implies, as the Scotch Solicitor-General said of Home Rule, "A new sense."

    The subject of joining the Wholesale again recurs.  Mr. Fawcett stated it had been many times before the members during the past twenty years.  The directors, in their official capacity, had never thought it consistent with their duty (as in other matters) to recommend the members to join, otherwise the Society might have been connected with the Wholesale years ago.  Between 1870 and 1880 many speeches were delivered upon the subject.  In 1881, a report very much in favour of joining produced only a majority of six votes.  In 1886, the Wholesale held a conference in Leeds in favour of itself, when Mr. Jones (chairman of the grocery committee) said it was not their interest, and therefore not their duty to join it.  Many people, besides Mr. Jones, consider that interest is the measure of duty.  However, it is a merit of Leeds decisions that the for and the against of any question is usually set forth fairly.

    One objection urged against joining the Wholesale was that no one knew if it was really solvent, through the habit of mixing the surpluses of the banking and trading accounts together.  Mr. Brodrick replied that solvency could be together.  The question turns on principle as well as interest.  Clear issues seem not to be tendered, and the Leeds Society, like Hamlet, have not solved the problem "To be or not to be."  The purchases from the Wholesale, without joining it, were for the half year (December) £16,967.

    The importation of eggs and yeast has commenced.  A memorial stone was laid in Brudenell Grove—another at Garforth.  A coal deport was opened at Guiseley.  Something new is being opened everywhere.

    The joinery and building departments continue to expand and now employ 135 persons.  New stores are opened in Elder Road, Bramley; and one of mark in Elford Grove, Roundhay Road, was opened on the 14th day of April.  The store itself is an imposing and handsome structure, as the reader will see for himself in the plate annexed.  You may read of Park Buildings, or of Field Place, where no vestage of park or field is to be seen; but the Elford Store stands in grove-land—vistas of vernal beauty lie around it; and the spiral store adds commercial beauty to the place.

 

 

    The growing trade of Strawberry House obliged a new store to be planned.  The boot factory finds employment for 117 workpeople, and has made this half year 23,434 pairs, and repaired 14,229.

    The present number of members (despite hundreds struck off) is 29,154.

    The sales of the June half year were £46,123 more than a year ago.  The profits for this half year reach £53,712.

    The net profits for the December half year proved to be £55,475, making for the year upwards of £109,000.

    In June, education has an award of £402; in December, it is £416, making a hopeful total of £818 for the year.  Profits go up by leaps and bounds, to use a memorable Budget phrase, and nobody complains of the irregularity.



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