History of Naworth Collieries Co-Operative Society

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In 1873 The Naworth Collieries Co-operative Industrial Society was formed at Kirkhouse and placed on the Register of Friendly Societies. This replaced the pre-existing Tommy shop by which colliery employees were compelled to make all their purchases at the company store.

The miners asked the Earl of Carlisle’s Trustees to provide premises for a Co-op, and in 1874 the foundation stone was laid by Mary Howard at the “new Co-op stores” at Hallbankgate. In 1877, after several years of building, the Co-op moved from Kirkhouse to Hallbankgate.

Two leases were drawn up in 1879, backdating the beginning of the lease term to 1877, between the Earl of Carlisle’s Trustees and ten named men of Hallbankgate and environs. The premises “used as Co-operative stores” together with pieces of ground, shops and stables were leased for 21 years at an annual rent of £106. 0s. 8d. The cottages [Store terrace] and garden were leased for 60 years at an annual rent of £2. 2s.

By 1896 the Co-op was able to buy the cottages and garden, which were conveyed by the Earl of Carlisle to the Naworth Co-operative for £129.

In 1898 the Earl of Carlisle conveyed, ie sold, to the Naworth Co-operative the “pieces of ground buildings used as stores shops warehouses and stables gardens and roadway thereto adjoining”, for £1060.

Keith Hood, 2001, The Co-operative Societies of the North Pennines
Halton Lea Gate Past Times Project, 1999, The Gate: A Living History of Halton Lea Gate
Carlisle Record Office: DHN/C/80/8, 9; DHN/C/229/2, 3


“The Co-operative Stores, named the ‘Naworth Collieries Co-operative Industrial Society Ltd’ was established in 1873, built by the Lord of the Manor and leased to the Co-operative movement, now owned by members and shareholders.

This is a very large building three storeys high at one time supplying the needs of the whole parish. The building has a manager’s house adjoining, committee rooms, and ample storage space, it consists of grocery, drapery and butchering departments, this last very modern at one time. It had a tailor’s shop, and a corn mill, and even a hearse to be hired out at funerals, now the hearse is no more, ending its days by being of all things a hen house. Rather sad we think, the tailor’s shop and the mill are gone as well.

Behind the store was until recently, the railway, where before the advent of the motor, everything needed was brought by railway wagon, now all goods are transported by road. Until recently the store had two branches – one at Haltonleagate, and one at Tindale, the Tindale branch is closed – perhaps just temporary – but on the whole it is prosperous and still serves a wide area. Store Row or Store Terrace, a block of four houses near the store, houses employees.”

extract from Betty Dixon’s History of Hallbankgate (1957)

“At the height of their popularity, the Co-operative Stores expanded and opened branches to meet the various needs of miners and farmers. These families were looking to buy unadulterated goods, especially food, at affordable prices with honest weights and measures. Groups of similarly minded local people began to organise their own Stores, quite often constructing the buildings themselves. Because the Co-ops served scattered localities, deliveries were and frequently still are made to villages and outlying areas. These deliveries would be free of charge to Co-op members, a service often still in operation that allows certain groups, such as the elderly, to remain living in their community rather than having to re-locate. In many respects the Co-op would be a social centre, for exchanging information and enquiring about the well-being of others living in the area.”

Extract from The Co-operative Societies of the North Pennines, by Keith Hood.

Keith Hood’s book, The Co-operative Societies of the North Pennines (2001), was published by the North Pennines Heritage Trust, now defunct, and the book is out of print. Sadly, Keith Hood, who until recently lived on Store Terrace in Hallbankgate,  is no longer with us, either. As a tribute to the author, and to make some of his work accessible to all, the section on the Naworth Collieries Co-op is reproduced here.

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© Keith Hood 2001