A special day to celebrate 150 years of co-operative, community-inspired trading in Swindon will mix nostalgia and fun at The Midcounties Co-operative’s Old Town store.
On Saturday 17 July from 10.30am to 4pm the Newport Street branch in Old Town will welcome all ages with attractions including music, face painting, a bouncy castle, food tastings and displays from community groups.
People can step back in time with the aid of memorabilia and old photographs and share their own memories of the Co-operative. There will also be competitions and a plaque unveiling and the Co-operative Choir from Swindon will perform at the event.
Much has changed since the early days when Swindon’s Co-op membership was restricted to 40 people and the manager of its East Street store earned a princely two shillings a week in 1861, or ten pence in today’s money. The retailer has progressed and developed its services over the years but has stayed faithful to its values and principles, working with and for the communities it serves.
Today Midcounties has 20 stores, two Post Offices, a pharmacy, travel branch, childcare nursery, seven funeral businesses and more than 49,000 members in the Swindon area.
Retired David Macey, aged 67, worked for Co-operative Funeralcare for 29 years. He has a passion for the movement’s history and a large collection of memorabilia at his Swindon home.
David said: “I will dress in period costume and bring along items for a display at the 17 July event. I started collecting Co-operative memorabilia 20 years ago when I was given an old biscuit tin and it has grown from there. I enjoy giving talks and sharing my interest in the Co-operative’s history.”
Midcounties Board Member Steve Allsopp, who will unveil a commemorative plaque at the store, said: “We are proud of our 150 year association with Swindon. Times have changed but those original values of co-operation are still very keenly held by a lot of people. Sharing profits with our members, supporting Fairtrade and local producers and continuing to give back to the community is what makes our way of doing business different.”
The anniversary celebrations will continue with a display of memorabilia at the Midcounties store in Brewery Street, Highworth, on Saturday 24 July and at its Cavendish Square supermarket in Park North, Swindon on Saturday 31 July.