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The Co-op Story IV

1955

 

The then Laird of Carluke, Mr Hamilton, was so struck by the efficiency of the work done by father and sons that he offered them the lease of a farm at Hurieysykes. This Mr Good refused on the grounds that there was already a tenant on the farm. The three sons were miners and members of the Carluke Oddfellows’ Society.

At the meetings of the Society many questions of social interest were discussed. It is no mere coincidence that the move- ment for the formation of a Cooperative Society in Carluke should rise in a body which had for its principles individual effort, initiative and thrift; nor was it without its meaning that the movement should commence with men of the industrial habits and social worth of the Brothers Good, and those associated with them. Amongst these was William Robertson, a brother-in-law of the Goods. Those four gathered round them a band of kindred spirits until the number had risen to nineteen, and the resolve to start a " Cooperative store"  was taken. History does not preserve the names of all those men as it ought to have done when we look back upon the greatness of the work to which they had set their hands, but, as in many other great.movements, those men could not see the great results that were to come from their work as pioneers. At length, some of those who had been taking part in the discussions - Messrs George McQueen, Henry Andrew (schoolmaster), Nicolson, Braidwood, Gegg, Smellie, Potts, Lindry, the Brothers Good, and others - called a meeting of all those interested.

Inside
Grocery
1958
Bakery Building 1987

 

The meeting was held in the Crown Inn Hall, in the autumn of 1861. Mr George McQueen presided, and in his address eloquently portrayed the work which had been done by the Rochdale pioneers, and the success which had attended their efforts. The same result, he said, could take place in Carluke if they were determined. They had only to possess a shop of their own. `I belong to the upper reaches of the Clyde, he continued; ` it is there so insignificant that one can step across it; but as it flows along, receiving tributary after tributary, it becomes a great river ere it reaches the sea, carrying on its bosom mighty ships trading to all parts of the world. So, too, will cooperation, as society after society unites, become a great federation, a potent factor in the every-day life of the people.

That evening it was decided to establish a society, and rent a shop for the sale of groceries and provisions, under the name of Carluke Equitable Pioneer Society. The shares were fixed at £5 each, paid at once or by instalments. George McQueen was appointed chairman, Mr Nicolson was appointed secretary, and Mr Alexander Smellie treasurer. Mr Nicolson did not long hold the position of secretary, however, and was succeeded by Mr Henry Andrew, the schoolmaster. A strong committee was also appointed, and steps were at once taken to secure a shop. And thus was beheld an unprecedented departure from the established social order - working men looking for a shop.

`Who is going to be responsible for the rent? was the question with which they were invariably met, for it did not appear that the original founders of the Carluke Cooperative Society had amassed enough of the worlds wealth to give this guarantee. Herein lay the first hurdle, and the manner in which it was said to have been overcome was symbolic of the success of the whole movement. James Good, one of the Brothers Good, and a miner by occupation, we are told,came forward and guaranteed the rent, be the undertaking a success or a failure. A shop was secured in those premises at the junction of Rankin Street and Market Road, and known later as the Market Tavern.
In the bottom flat of those premises commenced Carlukes first ` Cooperative Store. The building was the property of Dr Rankin, and what is now known as Rankin Street was then known as North Lane.

Continued..

Grocery 1957
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