The branches in Smallthorne were part of Burslem Co-operative Society which was formed in 1901. In March 1903 they opened their first branch store- this was at Leek Road (Now Ford Green Road), Smallthorne.

Burslem Co-operative Society, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent

The following excerpt is taken from a history of Burslem Co-operative Society written in 1922:

“March 1903 saw the opening of the first branch store in connection with the society. This was situate in Leek Road, Smallthorne and was so successful that before the year was out the premises were purchased. They were enlarged in the year 1905 to meet the growing trade, and in 1911 the old premises were taken down and a modern up-to-date shop erected on the site.”

“The Society had during the first year started to bake bread for its members, and to deliver same to their doors. This involved keeping horses and vans, and during this year land was purchased at Smallthorne, and stabling and vansheds built thereon to accommodate six horses and vans. These were opened in February, 1904, and in 1907-8 the stabling accommodation was increased to provide for twelve horses.”

Below is the dates and information given in the directories which lists all the Co-operative stores and their addressed for Co-operative stores in Smallthorne.

1905 – Leek Rd
1910 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1916 – Leek Rd
1922 – leek Rd
1928 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1932 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1934 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1940 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1951 – Smallthorne (no address given)
1957 – 27 + 102 Ford Green Rd
1966 – 27 + 102 Ford Green Rd
1972 – 27 Ford Green Rd
1979 – 27 Ford Green Rd
1996 – 27 Ford Green Rd
1998 – 27 Ford Green Rd

The original co-op building is still standing but is now a launderette and on old maps and census records it shows that the stables used to be behind that building. The store then moved further down the bank possibly in the 1960’s to a new store and was there for a long time before eventually becoming a Late Shop, then closing all together and the site is now occupied by Mr Big Deal.

Many thanks to the National Co-operative Archive for providing information contained in their records.

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