Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society AKA the CO-OP

A-toadlane

Map: Ordnance Survey Town Plan 1:500 first published 1908

The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was a group of 28 that was formed in 1844. The society was made up from a variety of local trades with more than half involved in the production of textiles  – ten of them flannel weavers whilst others were cloggers, shoemakers, joiners or cabinet makers, but they united in common cause against the oppressive poverty facing their community in 1840s Rochdale.

As mechanisation forced more and more skilled workers into poverty, these tradesmen decided to band together to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. With lessons from prior failed attempts at co-operation in mind, they designed the now famous Rochdale Principles, and over a period of four months they struggled to pool £1 per person for a total of 28 pounds of capital. On 21 December 1844, they opened their store in 31 Toad Lane with a very meagre selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. Within three months, they expanded their selection to include tea and tobacco, and they were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods. Ten years later, the British co-operative movement had grown to nearly 1,000 co-operatives. Although other co-operatives had preceded them, the Rochdale Pioneers’ co-operative became the prototype for societies in Great Britain.

A visitors book was kept in Toad Lane from the 1860s and shows the range of their influence. By 1862 German, Spanish and Russian visitors had made their way to Rochdale to see how a successful co-operative was run. The following year Alexander Campbell, the Scottish Owenite and originator of the dividend signed the book. The first Japanese signatory was Tomizo Noguchi in 1872.

Rochdale Pioneers traded independently until 1991, with name changes inspired by mergers with neighbouring co-operatives, finally ending up today as the The Co-operative Group.

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Historical Map downloads of Ireland – Half Price!

Cassini’s Irish downloadable maps from the mid to late 1800’s.
Cassini Historical Mapping of Ireland

From only £4.49! One week only. Offer available until 16th Feb 2015

• Instant map downloads of any area.    • Including personal inscription.
• Available for 3 historical OS series.     • Highly customisable.

Cassini is delighted to offer you our stunning range of historical Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland. Simply search for the area you are interested in, buy and download the PDF.

Whatever your interest in the past our historical maps are invaluable works of reference. Ideal for research, or print and frame for a personalised decorative map centred on the location of your choice.

Irish 6 Inch First Edition Downloads –  c. 1840’s
Ireland First Edition Downloads – c. 1860’s
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Map of the month – Old Sarum. 3 houses, 7 voters and 2 MPs

Old Sarum  –  Map: County Series 1:2500 1881
Old Sarum & Rotten Boroughs

Old Sarum, in Wiltshire, was  a parliamentary constituency in England from 1295 to 1832. The constituency was on the site of what had been the original settlement of Salisbury, known as Old Sarum.

It was a so-called ‘rotten borough’ (or ‘pocket borough’) with an extremely small electorate that was consequently vastly over-represented and could be used by a patron to gain undue influence. Rotten boroughs were one of the curiosities of the British electoral system, where fathers passed on constituencies (and the power as an MP that went with this) to their sons as if they were personal property. In many such boroughs the very few electors could not vote for whom they truly wanted due to the lack of a secret ballot or simply due to the lack of a candidate desirable to their political philosophy. The term rotten borough came into use in the 18th century. The word “rotten” had the connotation of corruption as well as that of long-term decline.

Rotten boroughs had very few voters. For example, Old Sarum, in Wiltshire, only had three houses and a population of seven people. It was a possession of the Pitt family from the mid-17th century to 1802, and one of its Members of Parliament was Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder. In 1802 the Pitt family sold it for £60,000, even though the land and manorial rights were worth £700 a year at most.

Examples of rotten boroughs in 1831 include the following:

Borough Patron MPs Returned Houses in Borough Voters in 1831
Old Sarum, Wiltshire Earl of Caledon 2 3 7
Gatton, Surrey Sir Mark Wood 2 23 7
Bramber, West Sussex Duke of Rutland 2 35 20
Newton, Isle of Wight Sir Fitzwilliam Barrington 2 14 23
Dunwich, Suffolk Lord Huntingfield 2 44 32

With just a few individuals with the vote and no secret ballot, it was easy for candidates to buy their way to victory.

The constituency of Old Sarum was abolished under the Reform Act 1832

Indications of prehistoric settlement at Old Sarum have been discovered from as early as 3000 bc. An was erected around 400 bc, The site continued to be occupied during the Roman period. The Saxons took the British fort in the 6th century and later used it as a stronghold against marauding Vikings. Later the Normans constructed a motte and bailey castle, a stone curtain wall, and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I and was subsequently used by Plantagenet monarchs. This heyday of the settlement lasted for around 300 years. By the early 13th century the population had moved to New Sarum at the foot of the hill, now known as the cathedral city of Salisbury and the long neglected castle was finally abandoned by Edward II in 1322.

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Map of the month – Plymouth

Plymouth (Ordnance Survey Popular Edition 1:50,000 – published in 1919)
Plymouth
28th Nov 1919. Nancy Astor elected Member of Parliament for Plymouth, becoming Britain’s first woman MP.

Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, Viscountess Astor (19 May 1879 — 2 May 1964) was an American-born socialite who made a second marriage to Waldorf Astor as a young woman in England. After he succeeded to the peerage and entered the House of Lords, she entered politics, in 1919 winning his former seat in Plymouth and becoming the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. She served in Parliament as a representative of the Conservative Party for Plymouth Sutton until 1945, when she was persuaded to step down.

Contrary to popular belief she was not the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament. The first was Countess Constance Markievicz but as a Sinn Féin MP she followed their abstentionist policy and refused her seat, making Nancy Astor the first serving woman MP.

In the 1930’s Nancy Astor and several of her friends and associates became heavily involved in the German appeasement policy; this group became known as the “Cliveden set”, a Germanophile social network that was in favour of friendly relations with Germany.
Nancy Astor was also friends with US Ambassador to Britain Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Reportedly as fiercely anti-Communist as they were anti-Semitic, Kennedy and Astor looked upon Adolf Hitler as a welcome solution to both of these “world problems”. In a 1939 speech, a fellow MP called her “The Member for Berlin”.

After serving for 26 years (1919 – 1945) The Tories believed she had become a political liability and her husband said that if she ran for office again the family would not support her. So in 1945 she retired from politics.

On one occasion, while canvassing in Plymouth, she was greeted at a door by a young girl whose mother was away. As Astor was unfamiliar with the area, she had been given a naval officer as an escort. The girl, when asked about her mother, replied: “…but she said if a lady comes with a sailor they’re to use the upstairs room and leave ten bob”.

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Map of the month – Port Richborough

Port Richborough
Port Richborough, Kent
(Map; Popular Edition 1920. Original scale 1:63,360 or One Inch to the Mile)

Situated amid the East Kent marshes Richborough is perhaps the most symbolically important of Roman sites in Britain. It is thought by many that the four invading Legions under Aulus Plautius assembled in Richborough after landing in Britain during the Claudian Invasion of A.D. 43.

Fast forward nearly 1900 years and troops were heading back into Europe. In January 1916 during the height of WWI, it was decided to develop Richborough as a depot and base for inland water transport to service the troops. At this time Richborough consisted of a short length of quay suitable for barges, and one solitary dwelling house.

By 1918, the enormous feat had been completed of transforming Richborough  into a large and well- equipped seaport, of 2,000 acres, complete with all services and capable of handling 30,000 tons of traffic per week. 2,300 ft of new wharf was built for the cross-channel barge service, in which, at the end of the war, 242 barges were employed, including ten of 1,000 ton capacity.

Among the new ports features was what we we today call a “roll-on, roll-off” ferry – for railway trains. Among the many tons moved from Richborough were complete trains carrying tanks, direct from the factories to the British army on the front line. The use of train-ferries greatly reduced the amount of labour required in the transport of these items. It took only 30 to 40 minutes to load or unload the 54 railway wagons and fifty or sixty motor vehicles that could be carried by these train-ferries. An analysis done at the time found that to transport 1,000 tons of war material from the point of manufacture to the front by conventional shipping means involved the use of 1,500 labourers, whereas when using train-ferries that number decreased to around 100 labourers.

So well camouflaged was the port, that it became known as the Mystery Harbour. All port buildings were one-story, their walls and roofs were painted to match the general background of a low-lying area. B Type War BusThe military secret was so strictly and carefully observed by the British, that the existence of the port had been unknown to the Germans during the whole war; the port was often overflown by the aircraft heading to drop bombs on London, where the bombs were striking civilians, but no bombs were ever dropped on Richborough.

After the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, train ferries were used extensively for the return of material from the Front. Indeed according to war office statistics, a greater tonnage of material was transported by train ferry at Richborough in 1919 than in 1918. The returning train ferries had space for motor transport as well as railway rolling stock, thousands of lorries, motor cars and “B Type” buses also returned via this route. It’s a little known fact that buses transported troops to and from the Front Line and were put to use as ambulances and even mobile pigeon lofts. Nearly 1,200 London General Omnibus Company vehicles went on war service, most to France and Belgium, with some travelling as far afield as Egypt.

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Map of the month – Southwick House

Southwick HouseSouthwick House, Hampshire (County series 1:2,500)

One of the most momentous decisions of the Second World War was taken in the old library at Southwick House in June 1944.

Nestling beneath the northern slopes of Portsdown Hill and just to the north of Portsmouth, Southwick House had become home of the RN School of Navigation, HMS Dryad, a stone frigate (shore establishment), moved from the coast due to the heavy bombing of its original home in Portsmouth dockyard in 1941.

southwick3bBy 1943, with the planning for D-Day already underway, the house was chosen to be the location of the Advance Command Post of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. Because of this, HMS Dryad was moved out of the house onto further land requisitioned from the estate.

In April 1944 Admiral Ramsay, the Allied naval commander-in-chief for Operation NEPTUNE, the naval assault phase of OVERLORD, moved his headquarters to Southwick House. As D-Day approached, the house became the headquarters of the main allied commanders, including Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Admiral Ramsay and the Army Commander-in-Chief General Montgomery.

The invasion of Normandy had been tentatively selected for Monday 5 June, but the weather forecast was bad, so Eisenhower ordered a 24-hour postponement. Then, later in the day, the senior meteorologist, announced to the senior commanders gathered in the old library at Southwick House that there would be a short interval of fine weather on Tuesday, 6 June.

“OK let’s go!……..With these words, the greatest invasion force that the World has ever seen prepared to launch the largest seaborne invasion in history, with nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating.  Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day, with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June. ‘The Great Crusade’ culminated in May 1945 with the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.

Southwick House remained part of the naval base, HMS Dryad, until its closure in 2004. Southwick Park is now the home of the Defence College of Policing and Guarding.

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Map of the week – Ned Ludd did it!

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1886
Anstey, Leicestershire – Home of Ned Ludd.
Map of Anstey - First Luddite

Anstey is a large village in Leicestershire, England, located north west of Leicester in the borough of Charnwood with a population was about 6,000.
Known as the Gateway to Charnwood Forest, Anstey has another claim to fame, or infamy, in the shape of one Ned Ludd.

On the 9th of October 1779 Ned Ludd, an apprentice stocking maker, reportedly angered by the threat to his livelihood (according to one version), or annoyed at his father giving him a beating, destroyed a number of stocking frames with a hammer. News of the incident spread, and later whenever frames were sabotaged in protest at the growing industrialisation of their trades, people would jokingly say “Ned Ludd did it”.

Little detail is known about the first ‘Luddite’ attack in 1779, indeed in reality the true Luddite movement did not begin until the beginning of the 19th century. The Luddites were textile workers who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the craftsmen with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.

When the Luddites first took up their hammers, 32 years after the first attack, Ned’s identity was appropriated to become the folklore character of Captain Ludd, also known as King Ludd or General Ludd, the Luddites’ alleged leader and founder and who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.

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Map of the week – Milton Keynes, village, town, city or county?

Main Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2500 – 1881
Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes – the smallest county in the country.

Milton Keynes is a town in Buckinghamshire (*more about that below), about 45 miles north-west of London. It was designated as a new town on 23 January 1967, with the design brief to become a ‘city’ in scale.

The original Village name has gone through many variations over the years. The village was originally known as Middeltone (11th century); then later as Middelton Kaynes or Caynes (13th century); Milton Keynes (15th century); and Milton alias Middelton Gaynes (17th century).

In the census of 1901 the village of Milton Keynes was recorded as having a population of just 219, a far cry from modern day Milton Keynes which population, according to the 2011 census, has risen to a staggering 229,941.

Since the 1950s, overspill housing for several London boroughs had been constructed in Bletchley. Further studies in the 1960s identified north Buckinghamshire as a possible site for a large new town, This new town would be built to encompass the existing towns of Bletchley, Stony Stratford and Wolverton. The New Town (informally, “New City”) was to be the biggest yet, with a target population of 250,000 in a ‘designated area’ of 34.1 sq miles. The name “Milton Keynes” was taken from the existing village of Milton Keynes on the site. The site was deliberately chosen for its location being equidistant from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Oxford and Cambridge.

Milton Keynes Development Corporation planned the major road layout according to street hierarchy principles, using a grid pattern of approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) intervals.

Facinating facts about MK include:

It’s the fastest growing urban area in Europe. There are currently twice as many births as there are deaths and around 13 people a day move to Milton Keynes.
Central Milton Keynes’s shopping centre is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest in the World.
Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Queen, U2 and Robbie Williams have all played the Milton Keynes National Bowl.
The Crownhill Estate’s streets are all named after dead celebrities including Presley Way, Hendrix Drive Crosby Court, Keaton Close and Monroe Avenue.

*Three bids to grant Milton Keynes city status have so far been submitted to the Government but none have succeeded, but that could be because a little known piece of legislation in 1995 actually names Milton Keynes as a county. The legislation reads ‘Milton Keynes shall cease to form part of Buckinghamshire’ and ‘a new county shall be constituted comprising the area of Milton Keynes and shall be named the county of Milton Keynes’. This new county includes all areas covered by Milton Keynes Council, including locations such as Olney, Newport Pagnell and Stony Stratford. 

With an area of around 119 square miles it makes Milton Keynes smaller than Rutland, traditionally known to be the smallest county in the country at a relatively massive 147 square miles.

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Map of the week – St. George’s Chapel, Windsor

Map: Ordnance Survey County Series 1:1,056 – 1871
St George's Chapel, Windsor

 St. George’s Chapel, Windsor – burial place of Henry VIII

Henry Tudor was born in the royal residence of Greenwich Palace on June 28, 1491, son of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth York. Not much is known about his early life because he was not born first in line to the throne, a role destined for his older brother Arthur, but  in 1502, at the age of only 15, Arthur died in Ludlow Castle where he resided in his capacity as Prince of Wales. Arthur’s death thrust all of his royal duties upon his younger brother, the 10-year-old Henry.

Henry was crowned Henry VIII, king of England following the death of his father on 22 April 1509.

Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. His struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and his own establishment as the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

His contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive, educated and accomplished king, and he has been described as “one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne”.
Later in life, Henry became obese, with a waist measurement of 54 inches and his physical decline can be traced to a jousting accident in 1536, in which he suffered a leg wound that never healed as well as head injuries.

Henry died in London on the 28th January 1547  and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, next to his third wife Jane Seymour, who had given birth to Henry’s only legitimate son, Edward, the future Edward VI. Over a hundred years later, Charles I was buried in the same vault. All three still lie in the vault beneath the quire in St. Georges Chapel, Windsor.

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The Battle of the Medway & Dutch courage

Chatham - The Battle of Medway
Map: Ordnance Survey Old Series – 1805

Battle of the Medway

Contrary to popular belief British shores have been invaded may times. The most damaging to our prestige and morale, since the Battle of Hastings, was a Dutch attack on The Medway in 1667, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

Charles II’s Navy was in a reduced state due to recent expenditure restrictions. With London largely destroyed by fire the previous year (having already been ravaged by plague), Charles had his fleet laid up in Chatham. The Dutch decided this was the moment to attack, and it proved one of the boldest naval raids in history.

The Battle of the Medway, as it was to become known, began on June 10, as the Dutch, with a fleet of about thirty ships, attacked the Island of Sheppey. Under the command of Lieutenant-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter the Dutch bombarded and then captured the town of Sheerness.

By the 12th June 1667 they had sailed up the River Medway towards Chatham. The Dutch fired upon the few poorly-armed and poorly-manned ships they encountered, broke through the six-inch thick iron chain stretched across the Medway to the East of Gillingham Fort (the English fleets the primary defence against invaders) and upon reaching Chatham the dockyard was set ablaze and Upnor Castle bombarded. Fireships caused havoc with the moored English warships, burning three of the four largest “big ships” of the navy and ten lesser naval vessels, as well as capturing HMS Unity and HMS Royal Charles, flagship of the English fleet, which they towed away as war trophies.

On the 14th June, fearing a growing English resistance, the Dutch decided to forego a further penetration and withdraw. After attacking several other ports on the English east coast, a failed attempt to enter the Thames beyond Gravesend and a Dutch marine force landed near Woodbridge north of Harwich, which was repelled, the Dutch fleet withdrew.

The raid led to a quick end to the war and a favourable peace for the Dutch was signed on 21 July 1667.

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