Central England celebrates Robert Owen

The society commissioned a painting and is providing in-store information throughout Co-op Fortnight 2021.

Central England Co-operative has celebrated the 250th anniversary of Robert Owen by commissioning a new painting and sharing a poster and information booklet for all colleagues, members and customers during Co-op Fortnight (21 June – 4 July 2021).

The poster produced by Central England to celebrate 250 years of Robert Owen

Robert Owen (1771–1858) was a Welsh socialist and philanthropist, whose 250th birthday would have been on 14 May 2021. He was a believer in the human responsibility for the moral and physical condition of others, and his views on worker conditions, education and economics were one of the foundations for co-operative thinking.

“Owen played a major part in our region, including visiting the mills in Cromford, Belper, and Derby with his Father in law, David Dale,” says Tanya Noon, member and community relations officer and director at Central England. “It was also Owen’s connections and support with the Arkwright and the Strutt families that enabled the first Co-op in Derby to trade with the support of an old stable.

“We know that it is natural for humans to co-operate and spread the seeds of co-operation, and Owen nurtured the roots around the world. Today we can see that vision, and it is now our responsibility to harness that so co-operation can flourish for future generations. It is our duty to inform people of not just Owen’s achievements, but also those of William King, George Holyoake, William Lovett, and many more great co-operators around the world as we achieve success together.”

Related … 250 Years of Robert Owen

Ms Noon adds that the society is proud of the fact that Central England Co-operative has within its rule book protected Owen foresight of providing development, education, cultural and recreational activity for its members.

“In Owen’s 8 hour day concept (8 hours work, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest), recreation was essential, and we encourage support around activities for mental health and how the member groups provide a place to meet up with other members and learn a new skill.”

As part of the celebrations, Central England’s membership and community councils commissioned a new painting by its painting tutor, Sophie Oakley, and produced an information booklet for all of its colleagues, members and customers. 

Debbie Robinson (CEO) and Elaine Dean (vice-president) unveil the Robert Owen painting commissioned by Central England

The painting was unveiled by Debbie Robinson, CEO, and Elaine Dean, vice-president. The event was filmed and presented at the Wales Co-operative Education Centre Conference on Owen’s Birthday on 14 May. 

The society also produced a poster that has been placed in store windows throughout the UK’s Co-op Fortnight. The information booklets were sent to every store for the colleagues, members and customers to celebrate Owen’s life during the Fortnight.