Morpeth Stobhillgate Townwomen’s Guild

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AT the May meeting, our speaker Mr Sudderby gave a talk on A Nation Of Shopkeepers, a reference to Napoleon’s charge.

Shopkeepers began in Lancashire by Robert Howlam, who opened a shop selling butter, sugar and candles.

In 1844 a co-operative movement was established by the Rochdale Pioneers to eliminate the middleman and share profits among its members. There were 28 founding members, who paid £1 each to join and then two pennies a week. Any surplus profits were given back to members, hence the now well-known ‘divi’.

1850 saw the foundation of the Housewives League to campaign for fair trade. Also in 1850, if you were well off your milk maid would bring you fresh milk, having milked a cow at your front door.

Mr and Mrs Sainsbury set up shop in the 1850s as well. Having six sons, they bought them each a shop, starting the Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

1884 saw Michael Marks, who was a refugee, setting up a stall in Leeds and because he couldn’t speak English, sold everything for a penny. To help him with the financial side, a friend introduced him to a Mr Spencer, hence Marks and Spencer as we know it today.

The term Hobson’s Choice comes from Chorley, Lancashire, where Mrs Hobson sold boots in the basement of her house and her husband sold more expensive items upstairs.

The two world wars changed shopping with trade ideas from other countries. Jack Cohen founded Tesco after the First World War using surplus NAAFI supplies.

Lots of well-known shops have been swallowed up by larger firms. Names such as Liptons, Maypole, Home and Colonial all disappeared in the 1950s.

Mr Sudderby was warmly thanked by Mrs Landells.

Next month will be celebrating our 60th birthday.