Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Burradon Co-operative Store 1861-1900

Co-operative Retail Premises Locations
One of the most important commercial developments within Burradon was the arrival of Co-operative retailing. Great Britain's co-operative societies were born through the efforts of poor people to help themselves and one another in years of hardship. In 1844, when wages were low in England and food expensive, a group of weavers in Rochdale saved a few pence every week until they had £28 and acquired a small shop. There they sold food at the same price as other grocers, but the profits were divided and given back to the customers in proportion to the money each had spent in the shop. The scheme was so successful that the idea quickly spread. The Cramlington and District Co-operative Society founded a retail branch in Burradon, in 1872. The Cramlington and District Co-operative Society had been founded, in Cramlington, in 1861. The workers of Cramlington pooled their resources and sent a couple of the men off to Newcastle to buy provisions. The local traders thought the scheme would flop, but it was a huge success, selling out in no time at all. The workers had to guard their provisions well from the perturbed local traders who would try to sabotage them. Premises were eventually found and the Society discovered that customers were coming from the surrounding villages, sometimes miles away, to trade with them.

Retail Premises 1911 (built 1897)


On November 11th, 1871, a meeting was held in Cramlington. It was decided that a branch was needed in Burradon. John Fryer offered the Fryer's Terrace premises at £40 per annum rental, and after a deputation had been sent out to view the shop, the offer was accepted. The "Co-op store" was opened on June 8th, 1872. Unlike most other branch openings this was rather spectacular; a large marquee was hired for tea and a band was engaged for a ball in the evening. A "Newcastle Chronicle" reporter noted in October 1872, how a display of lit paraffin lamps in the window looked very inviting on a winter's night. A few members, who disapproved of the Society's methods, broke away to fund a store nearby, but it was short lived. William Waldie (Fryer's son-in-law ) was made the first manager. A butchery business was also run from this shop. The Co-operative made an offer to Fryer, in 1876, to purchase the freehold shop for £650; he delayed his answer, but by this time a severe economic depression was affecting the country; sales had fallen and the Society considered the possibility of closing the shop; this they did in 1880.


Fryer's Terrace in 1911 (built 1861)


Cramlington was still supplying Burradon by a cart, but this was found to be impracticable and expensive. A meeting was held, in February, 1881, and it was decided once again to find another store. They were a long time in finding suitable premises but eventually the trustees of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, just south of the school, were offered £220. The second Burradon Co-operative was opened on November 22nd, 1883. An extra storey was added to this building to cater for the drapery business. Trade was at first fluctuating, but then steadily improved.

Former Primitive Methodist Chapel and Co-op on Burradon Road
Trade improved so much that by 1896, purpose-built new premises were deemed necessary. Land was purchased on the north side of Burradon Road, opposite Fryer's Terrace, from Eustace Smith. The building had two floors containing: shoe sales and repairs, drapery, grocery and a dance hall. This was opened on July 17th, 1897 and once again a large tea and entertainments were provided. In September 1900 it was felt a butcher's shop was needed, and Mr. Morrison's shop in Camperdown was leased. After only a few weeks this was felt to be inadequate, so more land was purchased off Eustace Smith, at the side of the Co-operative "store" and a butcher's shop was attached. The Society had purchased another eight hundred and eighty yards more than was needed; this would not be used until the 20th century.

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