Central Stores and other Co-Op premises and staff in Hartlepool. See the Note 'The Co-Op in Hartlepool' (below), for a more complete history.
Date unclear but would be pre 1950 as there are trolley bus lines evident. This view clearly shows the entrance to the arcade where one entrance was in the centre of the Park Road side of the store under the grand arched window. The other entrance to the arcade was to the left of the blinds where some people can be seen. under a further arched window. For quite a number of years before the store closed , the Stockton Street side of the arcade was blocked and became part of the store, and then the Park Road side of it was also closed off.More detail »
Shortly before it closed completely, most of the trading was done on the ground floor selling decorating,DIY, hardware and soft furnishings rather than the vast range of goods which had been sold throughout the life of the store.More detail »
Central Stores, Park Road, HartlepoolMore detail »
On the corner of York Road and Victoria Road, the large Coop Chemist building opened on February 7th 1957. It was built on the site of North View which from the 1890s had been a private girls' school.
The shop was a flagship store, the West Hartlepool Coop Society Drug and Dispensing Department opening a shop at 110 York Rd in 1922, followed by Cornwall St, then in 1938 Chatham Rd, Elwick Rd and Oxford Rd in 1947 and in 1949 the West View Chemists' shop.More detail »
Unclear where this was but hopefully someone will know ! The Coop had a number of branches throughout the town where clothing was sold. One was in the Young Street/ York Road area and there was perhaps one at West View and in Jutland Road ? This branch sells 90 shilling suits and boys overcoats for 19s11d. The brand was the Coop's own Wheatsheaf brand.More detail »
Looking East down Park Road, Hartlepool towards Pierce's Opticians, with the Central Stores on the right.More detail »
Power's was actually two shops on the corner of Spring Garden Road, Stratford Road and Stockton Road. Both are now converted to houses and this image was taken in 1963.
To the right is the Co-op and this is now Blue Cow butchers. The Co-op is now to the right of the old premises which was then Walter Willson's.More detail »
Salavation army hostel long gone, just the old co-op building standingMore detail »
A view along Stockton Street, Hartlepool, showing the Salvation Army building (Bell Terrace), with the unmistakable Co-op building behind.More detail »
Between 1862 and 1873, there were five separate Co-ops in the town, two in old Hartlepool and three in West Hartlepool and this obviously was counterproductive. In 1882, following a meeting in the Raglan hotel, the Hartlepools Co-operative Society was formed with Thomas Tweddle as chairman. Tweddle went on to become known in the Co-operative Societies nationally as the president of the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) in 1915.
In 1883, the first shop was opened in Charles Street, West Hartlepool and advertised that "goods would be sold at the same prices as those of respectable traders in the town". Sales and profits were good and the Society opened two more shops in 1883. In 1890 it purchased land in South Whitby Street on which to build a Central Stores which opened in 1892.
By 1900, the Society owned 19 premises from shops to a building department, a bakery and stables. A dairy and meat factory followed and then the Society provided dyeing, dry cleaning, photographic, shoe repair and later undertaking services.
The Society bought Owton Fens Farm in 1901 and was in the farming business there for 50 years, purchasing Brierton Farm in 1943 and Owton Grange Farm in 1949. The farming business stopped in 1951 although the Society's Fresian cattle were given certificates of excellence.
A 1912 advert for Hartlepools Co-op Society said that membership was one shilling and the dividend or "divi" was 2 shillings and 3 pence in the pound. There were at that time branches throughout the Hartlepools, Seaton Carew and Graythorp. In 1912 there were 20,482 members.
In October 1915 new Central Stores were opened in the large building still seen today on the corner of Park Road and Stockton Street although it is no longer a Co-op. At the time the building was described as "the finest block of business buildings in the town". It had "an imposing tower and arcade, a Board Room panelled in oak with a fine modelled ceiling and a comfortably furnished ladies' rest room."
Soon after opening, the grand Central Stores building was commissioned by the military in World War 1 and the Commanding Officer was asked by the Committee to put up notices prohibiting soldiers striking matches on the tiles of their new building.
As new estates were built around the town, new Co-op stores were built and in 1955, the large Co-op Chemist building was opened on the corner of York Road and Victoria Road.
In the 1960s, shopping habits were changing nationally. Dividend Stamps replaced the "divi" numbers and new departments were introduced.
When Hartlepool Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was planned there were many discussions about the future of the Central Stores as it was outside the area included in the new plans. A site in the new centre was offered but rejected by the Society and the main store remained where it was. By 1969, profits, as in other small societies, were not great and Society members agreed to join the North Eastern Co-op Group in June 1970.
By 1996, the building had become The Venue nightclub and eventually the upper floors were converted into flats, ' Park Towers', which they are today . The ground floor now houses offices.
Notes taken from 'The People's Store' which is a history of North Eastern Co-ops by Jim Lamb.
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The Hartlepools Co-op Society Limited, Employees Sports Club Whist Drive and Dance 1960.More detail »
In 1958 a very modern new Co-op was opened in Wynyard Road and this advert from the Northern Daily Mail describes how new this concept was. The prices are interesting too ! As a guide, 2/- was two shillings so the price of three jellies advertised was 10p and 1 shilling was 5p.
The shop claimed to bring 'American style shopping for the Owton Manor housewife'.More detail »