Joan and Kevin Dickinson’s Recollections
of the Chorley Co-operative Society
Steeley Lane/Lyons Lane Complex
1. The main office employed
about 12 persons who dealt with all paperwork received from all
branches, departments and vans belonging to Chorley Co-op. Here was also
the main telephone switchboard linking all departments to the office.
2. The CEO (Chief Executive Office) at this time was Stanley Davies JP.
The Secretary was James Latham and the Chief Clerk, Thomas Rutter. The
CEO and Secretary used to meet with the 12 Committee members in the
Board Room. This was quite a splendid room with a beautiful long
committee table and high backed chairs, all highly polished, with photos
around the walls. The meetings would take place on a Monday evening to
appraise the weekly balance sheet for all the departments of Chorley
Co-op. (Joan had the pleasure of compiling and balancing this
3. Also on the top floor (over the warehouse, bakery and central grocery
department) was the Co-op Hall. This was where people sometimes went
after funerals for their “funeral tea” which was provided by the
bakery/grocery departments and was served by ladies of the “Ladies Co-op
Guild.” The room was also used for the Christmas “Do” for all the
workers of the Chorley Co-op Society.
4. The Check Office employed 4 people and this was where all”divi”
checks were processed and stored in preparation for working out how much
dividend was to be paid each half year. Also in and out of this office
were two collectors of money (Miss Forshaw and Mr. Bond) who visited
people in their own homes. People could then spend what they had saved
at any of the departments or buy in lieu of money and then pay back.
5. Staff in the main office also worked on the counter of the “Bank”
dealing with customers who had Share Accounts and Penny Bank Accounts
and all the wages were made up in this office. When Joan was a Junior
she had to take the wages to all the departments in town in a large
brown Gladstone bag, and she was never mugged!
6. In the yard at the rear of the Steeley Lane/ Lyons Lane complex was
the Butchery Department with Joe Murphy as the manager. This department
had 6 vans to deliver house to house. There was also here a Productive
Department where all the meat was prepared for sale. There was a Co-op
Butchery shop on Lyons Lane.
7. The Dairy Department was managed by Dick Turner with the assistance
of one office staff. The Department had at least 6 horse-drawn milk
floats and had a bottling plant and stabling for the horses.
8. The Bakery Department was managed by Alec Brand. Various breads and
morning goods were produced for the grocery shops and there were at
least 4 bakery vans and possibly more. These made daily deliveries in
the surrounding areas. Later, Bolton Co-op Bakery took over and used to
deliver daily to the bakery vans and shops.
9. The Central Warehouse was managed by James Astleford. All grocery
goods were delivered here from the CWS in Manchester. Then each week all
the grocery shops would submit orders to the Warehouse for all their
needs. These orders would be delivered daily/weekly by 2 delivery
vehicles to every shop or department. The Warehouse had 4 staff and one
10. Also part of the Steeley Lane/ Lyons Lane complex were a grocery
shop (Central Grocery), a butchery shop (Central Butchery) and shoe shop
(Central Boot and Shoe Shop).
11. Two other people who were vital to Chorley Co-op were Jack and
Florence (Florrie) Entwistle. Florrie was the 'cleaner' in the offices
and boardroom, and everything 'shone'. Jack was the caretaker and
general handyman around the Central complex (Lyons Lane).
This was managed by Jack Tootell from an office in the coal siding yard.
This was railway property next to Brunswick Bridge. There were a number
of coal wagons that used to deliver to customers.
The Market Place Emporium, on the corner of the Market was managed by
Jack Cherry. It sold hardware, haberdashery, furniture, soft
furnishings, electrical goods, ladies and childrens’ clothes and
The Tailoring Department was managed by Frank Rowe and situated in
Fazakerley Street on the corner of Market Street. It provided men with
both bespoke suits and off-the-peg clothing.
Next door to the Tailoring Department was the Boot and Shoe Department
which was managed by Ike Lane. As well as selling Ladies, Gents and
childrens’ shoes it also made clogs and had a repair department on the
The Fish and Fruit Department was situated on Market Street (site of the
current Spar shop) and was managed by Jim Connor. It sold wet fish,
fruit and flowers and also had a Fish/Fruit delivery van that went
around the area.
The Pharmacy was next to the Fish and Fruit Department (currently Hydes
fancy goods shop) and was managed by Hughie Smith. It sold all pharmacy
products, perfumes, make-up and dispensed prescriptions. There was
another Co-op Pharmacy on Park Road. This was managed by Miss Neumayer
and did similar trade to the Market Street department.
The Funeral Department was managed by Len Pinsent was situated on Moor
Road, opposite All Saints and where the current Co-op shop is situated.
There were 13 Grocery stores. These were:-
1. Central managed by Frank Collinson.
2. Pall Mall managed by Arnold Miller (Snr.)
3. Water Street managed by Fred Lever.
4. Botany managed by Cecil Poole.
5. Bolton Street managed by Tom West.
6. Carrington Road managed by Tom Redhead.
7. Coppull managed by Herbert Tyrer.
8. Eaves Lane managed by Roland Stringfellow.
9. Cowling managed by Jim Woods.
10. Mayfield Road managed by Arnold Miller (Jnr)
11. Euxton managed by Jack Barker.
12. Pilling Lane managed by Frank Whittle.
13. Birkacre managed by Ronnie Snow.
Home deliveries were undertaken by bikes from some of the shops. In
addition there were 2 Grocery vans like very large, long horse boxes
which went around the outlying districts each day. They were managed by
Bert Blackledge and Ronald Hunter, each with a helper
Work Experience of Joan and Kevin
Kevin started work the Pall Mall grocery shop from leaving school. He
later managed the Fish and Fruit van, then had a bread round and finally
had a milk round. He finished at the Co-op when milk rounds were put out
to being a sel-employed franchise.
Joan’s first weekly wage was £2 10s. Her working hours were
Tuesday: 9am -6pm
Friday: 9am-7pm (had to have tea at work)
(Updated 14 April 2010)
J & K Dickinson