At The Centre Of The Community
Friday 22nd January 2016 @ 16:12 by Mark Phillip

A look back to the day when Glossop Dale New Industrial Co-operative Society dominated the centre of town.

For out of every retail pound spent in Glossop around 70 years ago, at least a third went into the Co-op tills.

The impressive looking building pictured above, sold about everything most people needed to get by.

Food, household goods of every kind, shoes, clothes, blankets and bedding, all spread over two floors, it even had its own bank on the corner of the street that separated it from Norfolk Square, and the junction of Henry Street.

What customers could not buy there was available just a few yards down High Street West.

There was a gentlemen’s outfitters that sold everything from a pocket handkerchief to a three-piece suit, jacket, waistcoat and trousers.

The company even had its own high street cafe where tea was poured from tiny stainless steel pots.

The Norfolk Square building, whose appearance has hardly changed, was the society’s flag ship, containing the offices from where the empire was run.

But all over what we now call Glossopdale, the Co-op had its own stores.

Villages and communities were all catered for.

They mainly sold food, most of the employees were men, all in white, faintly starched aprons.

For those that could afford to buy butter, they would cut it from a huge slab that sat on the well-scrubbed counter.

Cheese was sold in the same way, sliced with a thin wire, than weighed on a scale, that had brass weights.

Sugar was sold in bags made from stiff blue paper.

Co-ops, up to the 1950s, were a kind of community centre of their day.

Customers chatted, swapping gossip, until it was their turn to be served.

There were even stiff back wooden chairs for elderly shoppers to sit and rest.

Slowly and sadly the Co-opempire diminished, stores closed. It was the end of an era.