NEW details of film star Sean Connery's Co-op connections have been discovered following the closure of Scotmid Society's historic Fountainbridge headquarters in Edinburgh.
According to staff records found during the clear-out prior to the society's move to its new purpose-built head office on the outskirts of the city at Ratho Park, the mega-rich star dubbed Scotland's most famous living celebrity started work for the Co-op for the princely sum of a guinea a week – £ 1.05 in today's money.
An employment card issued by the old St Cuthbert's Society – which merged with Dalziel Co-op to form Scotmid in 1981 – shows that Thomas S. Connery started as a barrow worker at the society's Corstorphine dairy on July 20 1944.
In the next four years the teenager, who was later to find fame and fortune as James Bond in a string of box office successes based on Ian Fleming's novels, became in turn a dairy transport worker and a "junior horseman."
However young Sean opted to leave St Cuthberts and his native city in 1948 when he joined the Royal Navy, but it seems life on the ocean wave didn't suit him and he re-joined the Co-op less than a year later, this time, according to the employment record, as a "horseman" and was paid 75s 6d per week – equivalent to around £ 3.77 nowadays .
In January, 1950, he left the Co-op again, this time for good and the rest as they say is history.
And while it was common knowledge that Sir Sean started his working life as a Co-op milkman, details of his St Cuthbert's career appeared to have been lost in the mists of time – until now.
The employment card was just one item among hundreds of historic ledgers, photographs and documents discovered in a huge safe at Fountainbridge, which has been the society's headquarters since Christmas Day, 1880.
Scotmid President Hollis Smallman commented: "We had no idea Sir Sean's employment details were there.
"It's fascinating stuff and the index card was one of hundreds holding details on workers going back to the 1930s and 40s. There was a huge amount of stuff in the three safes, which are each about the size of a living room."
Most of the recovered material has been passed on to the National Library of Scotland and the Library's Curator of Manuscripts David McClay said that the archives would form an important resource for anyone researching the history of the Movement in Scotland.
A display featuring items from the Scotmid archive – including details of Sir Sean's first full-time employment long before he became the legendary agent 007 – are currently on show at the Library in Edinburgh and will eventually become part of a foyer exhibition at Ratho Park.
And, as thoughts turn to a high-profile "official opening" in January or February, what price a return to Edinburgh for one of Auld Reekie's most famous sons?
It's early days, of course, but a Scotmid insider hinted that the final chapter of Sir Sean's Co-op connections is yet to be written.
Will "Mr Bond" be shaken and stirred to re-visit his Co-op past? Watch this space…