A blue plaque has been unveiled in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, honouring one its former worker-run co-operatives.
Set up in 1870, the Hebden Bridge Fustian Manufacturing Co-operative Society traded from 1870 until 1918 when it was acquired by the CWS, now the Co-op Group. The mill was run by workers themselves and attracted a lot of visitors during its 50 years of trading.
Joseph Greenwood, son of poor handloom weavers, played a key role in establishing the worker run factory. Along with fellow workers, he started making small contributions to a common fund, which was used to acquire and run their own fustian cutting business. They were able to raise the amount needed by to selling shares to outsiders.
Celebrating the city’s past, Hebden Royd mayor Councillor Carol Stow unveiled the plaque during a commemorative event on 6 July, the International Day of Co-operatives. The blue plaque is placed on the wall of the mill where it operated at Nutclough Mill in Keighley Road.
A second blue plaque was also unveiled across the road by Alan Greenwood, the great great-grandson of Joseph Greenwood, at the house where the later lived for many years while working at the Nutclough as the manager.
Participants also laid flowers at the graves of Joseph Greenwood and Jesse Gray, secretary of the Nutclough Co-op in Sandy Gate burial ground.
Organised by the local Calderdale co-operatives, the event rounded off with drinks in the town’s co-operative pub, the Fox and Goose.