I have been a member of co-operative societies since approximately 1990, not a life time, but still a fair number of years.  I have served on various committees of the CWS (later known as the Co-operative Group) South East Region, from 1993 to 2003, and assisted in database construction and other data analyses in relation to archive work (see below). My name has been mentioned in two books which provide substantial historical analysis of sectors of the co-operative movement. And I have also assisted in the construction of a CD encyclopedia of co-operative materials.



In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a spate of mergers of co-operative societies in the London and SE England region. The two largest were the RACS and the SSCS and, when the Secretary of the former, Ron Roffey, retired in 1990, he started to assemble an archive of local material before it was lost in the mergers and closures that were taking place. This archive was housed in the RACS premises in Powis Street, Woolwich until that office closed and subsequently in temporary accommodation which expired in 2004 as did the finances necessary to maintain the archive. The unfortunate result was the dispersal of the archive.


The three works mentioned are:

R A Roffey                          

The Co-operative Way

Available from the Co-operative Group, Manchester.

R Rhodes                             

An Arsenal for Labour; on the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society

Available from Co-operatives UK, (Holyoake Press).

R A Roffey and Peter Collier

Encyclopedia of Co-operation in SE England

Available from myself at £10 (See contact details).



The Co-operative Way is an historical study of the formation and development of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society and the South Suburban Co-operative Society comprising 224 pages, 120 photographs 2 maps and 7 appendices. (1998)

An Arsenal for Labour gives an account of one specific sector of the RACS, namely its Political Committee, the sub-committee  directly elected by the members which was responsible for the co-opís affiliation to the Labour Party. (1999)

The Encyclopedia of Co-operation in South East England is a CD with data and illustrations concerning all the co-operative societies that could be traced in the region. (2016)

Further information on these works may be obtained from Ron Roffey on 0208 467 0377.

The photograph below shows the porch of the RACS head office (1902) in Powis Street Woolwich, with a statue of Alexander McLeod, Secretary-Manager for 34 years, above.



IMG_6972 rev b


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