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The Co-op Story VI

Law Branch


The extent of the business now called for two hands. Robert Tough was head salesman, and James Mackie assistant. It was here that the late John Morton was taken on as an apprentice. Peter Paterson followed Mr Tough as head salesman and introduced a new system of registering the customers ` ben  by the books. The necessity for this change indicates how the number of members and volume of trade had increased during the past ten years of the existence of the Society. Then came one of those regrettable incidents which come in the history of every successful movement, and come only when the success of the movement is assured.

We may describe it as ` getting rid of the old gang  or ` dropping the pilot, according to the point of view we take. This was the withdrawal of the Brothers Good from the management of the Society, and in this instance we think that ` dropping the pilot  is the fitting metaphor, as they had guided this little craft of Carluke Co-operative Society through stormy to smoother waters. The late Alexander Pearson became chairman at this period, and his son-in- law, Mr Robert Forrest, head salesman. It was during Mr Forrests' charge that the Society purchased for £220 and removed to the shop on the site of the present premises in High Street. These were first rebuilt at a cost of £900, and have since been reconstructed, remodelled and enlarged on several occasions, until they have become the splendid premises they are today. For some time the bottom flat only of the new premises was used. Groceries were kept on one side, and general wares on the other.

Inside Carluke Grocery 1958
Crossford

 

The shopman might leave the counter where he had been serving a customer with butter and jam, go round to the other counter, where the articles required might be a "yaird o’ moleskin, a scrubbin brush, and almost certainly " a half-a-gallon o pit ile and a ball o week. But the progress of the Society called for specialisation as well as for increased accommodation. Now we see in succession the establishment of new bakery premises under William Barr; a fleshing department under James Baillie; a dress-making business under Miss Elsie Smith; a millinery department under Miss Martha Martin, later Mrs Barr.

A boot department comes next, followed by a fruit shop, fish shop and a dairy, the latest department being the beautiful hardware shop at the Cross. Mr Robert Forrest starts business for himself and is succeeded by the late Hugh Hamilton, who also starts business on his own account and is followed by George Ralston, the Societys first manager. Then come W. Miller, W. Semple, H. Flemington, A. Kirk,
and last, but by no means least, Mr James Young, the Societys present capable manager, who for ten years has ably discharged his responsible duties, and under whose capable management the new premises of the branch at Crossford were opened about three years ago. And now, in concluding this part of our story of Carluke Cooperative Society, Ltd., let us glance for a brief space at the men who have figured in its history. Sequence of office will not be given here; personal characterisation will not be attempted, for they were all worthy men. Rather do we mention them at this point to show how faithfully they represented in their persons the working classes of Carluke.

Review them in memory, and you will find that each and all of them reflected faithfully some phase in the work-a-day life of the parish.  Alexander Pearson, George Tennant, John Murphy. Robert Davidson, sr., Andrew Pearson, Joseph Kay, Henry Andrews, Thomas Lennie, Patrick Love, Thomas Howitt, are amongst the names that come to the memory, all of them men who, in addition to doing their own days work, gave their spare time and energy to the building of an organisation which has been productive of untold good.

Board of Managers
R. Hunter
c.1920

 

 To those men, toiling much, enduring much, achieving much, let us give thanks. We cannot do better than conclude this part of our story by the words of George Jacob Holyoake: "Profiting by their unquenchable zeal, we, who have followed them, have been able to put the word ‘Co-operation in the mouth of the world." They‘ had a wider view than many of us have learned to take. They had the lofty faith that, by good sense and wise association, society could create  that condition of social life in which it should be impossible for a man to be depraved or poor.’ They are beyond the reach of our gratitude. Our applause now can but fall on the "dull, cold ear of death," but we can do that, the thought of which gladdened them while they lived - we can cease not our devotion to their cause until honest work has honest reward - until precariousness is known no more in the homes of the people - until the Shakespearian time shall come when - ` Distribution shall undo excess, -
And each man have enough . Death found them at the noblest of all duties, devotion to the cause of their fellowmen and women. The task which their tired hands relinquished has been taken over by others no less devoted to the cause of co-operation. Carluke Co-operative Society has never lacked for men able and willing to bear the burden in the heat of the day, and in the present management, amongst which may be mentioned Mr R. Davidson, JP, president; Mr A. Dougall, secretary; Mr  Young, manager, with their committee, will be found a body of men inspired by the ideals, faithful to the traditions of, and representing all that is best in co-operation.

Infirmary Day
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