Worker Co-op Archive

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This is intended as a guide to archival collections relating to the heritage of the UK workers' co-operative movement, particularly focusing on the period 1970s-1990s.

Please be aware that this page is a work in progress and not a comprehensive list of all workers' co-op collections held.

If you would like to contribute to this page please contact the National Co-operative Archive


Archival material held at the National Co-operative Archive

This material is available to access in the reading room at the National Co-operative Archive, please see website for further details.

*Please note that access to some material may be restricted under the relevant Data Protection legislation

Location of collection Title Description Reference
Held at the National Co-operative Archive
Computercraft Material relating to Computercraft, a workers' co-operative specialising in computer consultancy, training and programming. GB 1499 CCL
COPE News Copies of COPE News a journal of Co-op Enterprises in Northern Ireland. GB 1499 CPN
Delta-T Devices Copies of material relating to Delta-T devices. A workers' co-operative specialising in instruments for environmental science ,based in Cambridgeshire. Still operating. GB 1499 DTD
Grass Roots Book Store One image showing the exterior of the Grass Roots book store that was located in Manchester. Black and white. CUP/1/122/3
Green Door Health Foods One image showing the interior of the Green Door Health Food store, that is run by a worker co-operative organisation (as noted on the reverse). CUP/1/122/2
Humberside CDA (Co-operative Development Agency) Material relating to Humberside CDA GB 1499 HCDA
Industrial Common Ownership Finance (ICOF) Material relating to ICOF GB 1499 ICOF
Industrial Common Ownership Movement (ICOM) Material relating to ICOM CPF/4



Some material not yet catalogued

In the Making Copies of In the Making magazine - a magazine set up to showcase co-operative projects in the 1970s/80s. GB 1499 ITM
Lynx Training Ltd Material relating to Lynx Training Limited, a small workers' co-operative run by women which offered training in the community for long-term unemployed people, particularly focusing on women. GB 1499 LTL
MANCODA (Manchester Co-operative Development Agency) Material relating to the Manchester Co-operative Development Agency (MANCODA). GB 1499 MCDA
Michael Jones Jeweller Copies of material relating to Michael Jones Jewellers a workers' co-operative jewellers in Northampton. Converted to a co-operative in 1970. Still operating. GB 1499 MJJ
Mills and Moors Tours Material relating to Mills and Moors Tours, a co-operative tour guide company, based in Hebden Bridge. GB 1499 MMT
NOW - Network of Wholefood Workers' Co-operatives Copies of NOW magazine. GB 1499 NOW
On the 8th Day Material relating to On the 8th Day workers co-operative, a health food shop and cafe, based on Oxford Road, Manchester. Still operating. GB 1499 EDC
Political Ecology Research Group (PERG) Material relating to the Political Ecology Research Group a non-profitmaking co-operative company, limited by guarantee.The group participated in several major policy debates and offered its services to many groups requiring support by scientific expertise. GB 1499 PERG
Roger Sawtell Papers Papers of Roger Sawtell relating to a number of co-operatives and support agencies he has been involved in from the 1960s to the present day. GB 1499 RSP
Saddleworth Crafts Ltd 1 photograph of Saddleworth Crafts Co-operative, based in Oldham, Greater Manchester CUP/1/122/1
Scott Bader Ltd Material relating to Scott Bader Ltd. CPF/5
Stockport Workers' Co-operative Material relating to Stockport Workers' Co-operative (now dissolved). Includes: Minute books (1985-1990), accounts, correspondence (1985-1992), photographs. Not catalogued
Trojan Printing Services Material relating to Trojan Printing Services, a workers' co-operative specialising in high quality offset litho services, based in Hackney, London, c.1980s GB 1499 TPS
Unicorn Grocery Workers' Co-operative Material relating to Unicorn Grocery, a workers' co-operative based in Chorlton, Manchester, set up in 1996. GB 1499 UNI
Upstart Workers' Co-operative Submission by the Upstart workers co-operative, 2000 CRR/1/1/151
Workers' Co-operative Oral Histories Oral histories with key individuals involved in the workers' co-operative movement between the 1970s-1990s GB 1499 WTOH
Workers' Co-operative Publications A list of published works relating to workers' co-operatives, employee ownership, and co-operative productive societies. Available for consultation at the National Co-operative Archive. List of workers' co-operative publications held at the National Co-operative Archive

Archival material held outside the National Co-operative Archive

The below material is held at archive and record centres across the UK. To access this material please contact the relevant archive or record centre. This material cannot be made available at the National Co-operative Archive.

Location of collection Title Description Reference
Bedfordshire Archives Sunflower Wholefoods Co-operative The records of Sunflower Wholefoods Co-operative, Bedford, 1978-1996 Z909
Bolton Central Library History Centre Greater Manchester Co-operative Development Agency Annual Report 1st Jan-31st Dec, 1988. Cog: All about co-operatives in Greater Manchester, 1988. 334 GRE - BRN 1309360

334 GRE - BRN 1325942

Buckinghamshire County Archive Oakleaf Books Ltd The records of Oakleaf Books Ltd. Radical and community bookshop and co-operative. 11 boxes. Not catalogued. Accession ref: SJM/RO/1/3
Coventry Archives and Research Centre Coventry Co-operative Development Agency Board minutes and papers, including copy of article on worker co-operatives, 1981-1983 PA1523/23
Glasgow Caledonian University, The Archive Centre, Special Collections Govan Grain Store Workers' Co-operative ICOF application from -- General report: introduction and background -- Financial report: notes, 1978 SECS-SECS/JP/2/2/1/1/003
Co-operative Development (general) Speakers' notes : the Co-operative Development Agency, 1978 CSC-CSC330504P
Leicester Archives Leicester and County Co-operative Development Agency Information leaflets on co-operative and training courses. Notices on talks and events, 1982-2000. 1 envelope 334 Ephemera
London Metropolitan Archive Lambeth Co-operative Development Agency Material relating to the Lambeth Co-operative Development Agency 1981-82 - 1 file. GLC/DG/ISG/12/011
(The) National Archives Co-operative Development Agency: Records Annual reports, board papers, minutes and other surviving records of the Co-operative Development Agency reflecting their responsibilities under the Cooperative Development Act 1978, to promote the development of the co-operative sector of the economy in an advisory, promotional, representational and educative capacity. 30 files and volumes LAB 99
(The) Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland Equity Shoes Records of Equity Shoes, 1887-2009. It was the first co-operative shoe factory in Leicester to join the Co-operative Productive Federation. DE7745
Warwick Modern Records Centre Fakenham Enterprises Ltd, Shoe Manufacturer's Records of Fakenham Enterprises Ltd, Norfolk 1951-1975. A co-ownership company. Fakenham Enterprises Limited
Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) 61 boxes. The Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) was founded in 1884 as the Labour Association for Promoting Co-operative Production based on the Co-partnership of the Workers (known as the Labour Association). In 1901 it became the Labour Co-partnership Association, in 1928 the Industrial Co-partnership Association, in 1972 the Industrial Participation Association and in 1989 the Involvement and Participation Association. It was incorporated in 1950. Its aim was to promote employee involvement in companies by encouraging the implementation of suitable practices within organisations. Involvement and Participation Association (IPA)
Scott Bader 1939-1997- 124 boxes of material relating to Scott Bader, an employee owned company. Scott Bader Commonwealth - The Papers of Ernest Bader
Warwickshire County Record Office Leamington Spa: Records of Bookshop Records of "The Other Branch", an alternative/radical bookshop and co-operative, including diaries, accounts and printed items.
Working Class Movement Library, Salford Federation of Radical Booksellers Material relating to the Federation of Radical Booksellers, 1975-1993. (NB. Not all members of the Federation of Radical Booksellers were workers' co-operatives, however many radical booksellers were.) ORG/RADBOOK

Case studies

Case studies of current and past workers' co-operatives around the UK

Learning resources

These learning resources and case studies have been designed to give a basic overview of the heritage of the workers’ co-operative movement, 1970s-1990s.

These can be freely used by anyone and are available under a Creative Commons License ‘Attribution, Non-Commercial’

Learning resource 1: Early development of the workers' co-operative movement

Learning resource 2: How workers' co-operatives operated

Learning resource 3: Workers' co-operative networks

Learning resource 4: Workers' co-operatives and social change

Learning resource 5: Development of workers' co-operatives post 1990s

Preserve your collections

Guidance for preserving your records: easy steps you can take to better preserve important workers' co-operative records held outside an archive/public record centre.