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The Co-op building on High Street

Or the Rishton Industrial Co-Operative Society to be precise, was registered in January 1864 when a few friends rented a shop in High Street.

They were first established in 1873, when the shop in High Street was rented very close to its present position in the year 2003.

In 1865 they moved to premises near the current post office and in 1866, moved again. This time to Edward Street. The premises here are now a residential house. From here they started to sell drapery and footwear.

During 1868 Mr. Eccles Grime was appointed shop man for the store, and was well remembered in the town for the next 80 years.

By 1873 there were 250 members and land was obtained on the junction of Commercial Street.

Date Stone for Coop Buildings.

Two cottages and a store were built in 1874 and in 1876 furniture was sold for the first time, this required the store to be built further and 1877 so the stones laid.

The furniture store that the Co-op took over was previously Ormerod's Furnishers.

In 1895 John Noble was the Secretary of the Coop, aged 62, there was also another John Noble who was the Clerk at the same time, but this John was just 30 years of age.

By 1907 the premises were reorganised and a new bakery was added replacing the one in School Street, and an assembly hall was built.

After turning the corner from High Street and the corner shops side wall and the high streets back alleys a building was erected.

Commercial Street Coop in 1971.

It was called the Emporium Central Co-op Department Stores. Plus there were 2 purpose built shops erected about 1910 – 11 St Charles and Stourton Street. 2 other positions included a butchers shop and a grocery shop, Hermitage and Harwood road.

Commercial Street emporium had 4 large shop fronts up to School Street. One building had separate windows and doors. First was the Butchers, with an Abattoir at the rear, Extra large double sided window shop, grocery and green grocery. Finally the Ladies outfitters which had it doors on the corner with a fancy entrance.

Coop buildings on School Street ready for demolishtion in 1971.

Then there were 2 large windows round the corner going up School street covering all ladies wear. Next gents Outfitters with made to measure suits, then confectionary's with a bakery behind.

I am told that the head baker here was Ken Warburton, and ran the bakery until it closed down. A paperboy remembers having to deliver to the bakery as his first delivery every morning, and was always given 2 hot pies by Ken to keep him warm on his round. The entrance to the assembly rooms followed the bakery, and finally a fair sized bank.

The present community centre on the corner of School Street and Commercial Street was the double fronted ladies and gents shoe dept and the shop front on Commercial was the clog and repair dept. This was opened in 1924.

The present Co-op on High Street was once the furniture dept.

Date stone at the top of Saint Charles Street Co-Op Building.

New branch shops were opened throughout the town, Cliff Street in 1910, St. Charles Road in 1914, Shoe Department in 1924 completed the centre when the entrance was moved to Commercial Street, in the Cloggers shop.

Rishton Co-op were granted licence to use their premises in Spring Street, by the Rishton urban District Council on the 14th December 1939, as a slaughter house for a period of not more than 13 months, as demanded by the Food & Drugs Act 1939. The slaughter house on Spring Street had been opened in 1915, when the Co-op had completed the building of the premises.

On the 8th September 1942, J. H. Hothersall J. P. retired from Rishton Co-op society where he had been president since 1902. (40 years). John Henry Hothersall died just two years later on the 2nd January 1944.

The extent of the Co-operative movement in Rishton can be judged by the amount of aided housing. they had financed the building of 43 houses in the town, and 222,469 had been lent to members on mortgage purchases for there own homes. This was in 1951.

Hermitage Coop

By 1951 the membership reached 2,150, and by 1961 the Blackburn Co-operative took them over. By 1962 the central premises were demolished.

The Co-Op also had a building in Hermitage Street. This was built in 1884, much earlier than the other branch shops that Rishton had, in fact it was built at the same time as the main store on Commercial Street.

The shop on Hermitage contained a cloggers, grocery department, and a green grocers.

The shop is still standing as can be seen from this picture taken in February 2001.

Ckiff Street Coop in July 2001.

The manager of the shop here on Hermitage Street lived in a house owned by the coop for his job. This was number 59, and was owned by the society up until 1964, when Mr and Mrs McNamara bought it from them.

At the time of writing (2001) Mrs McNamara still lives in the same property.

Since its inception in 1863, the Society paid out over 420,000 in dividends to its members, and 15,392 in death benefits under the free insurance scheme that they ran. In 1951 they had a total capital of almost a quarter of a million pounds.

Cliff Street coop date stone in July 2001.

Memorable names of the Co-op include J. H. Hothersall, J. P., who was elected to the committee in 1899, became President in 1902, and continued until his retirement in 1942. During most of that time the Society's chief official was Mr. Fred Pickup, J. P., who was managing Secretary from 1899 to his death in 1938, when he was succeeded by Mr. W. Hart, who continued in this position until after 1951.

There were 3 members of the 1951 Committee who had especially long service records, Mr. E. Yates was first elected in 1915, Mr. J. Looms in 1921, and Mr. Riley Duckworth in 1928, and was current President in 1951.

The 1951 Committee was;

The Council Clerk also reported that the Rishton Co-operative Society, Ltd. had decided to present a Silver Cup to the Council, in turn to be presented annually to the winner of a Bowling Competition open to residents of the district. The Clerk was asked to arrange for the Cup to be formally handed over to the Council at the next meeting to be held on the 17th July and that arrangements for the Competition be decided at a subsequent meeting.

The Council duly received the President, Secretary and members of the Committee of the Rishton Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd., who presented to the Council a Silver Cup for competition at the bowling green. The Chairman received the Cup and, with several members, expressed his appreciation of the generosity of the Co-operative Society.


Allan McNamara via email.

Rishton Street Names by E. Furber. Published October 1995.

Rishton on Record, The Festival of Britain 1951.

Frank Pacynko