Building Name

Co‑operative Store and Public Hall, Rawtenstall

1868 - 1869
Lancashire, England
New Build

On Saturday week the foundation stone of a new co‑operative store and public hall was laid at Rawtenstall. The walls will be cased with pitch-faced coursed wall stone, relieved with moulded strings of dressed Longridge stone. Messrs. Maxwell and Tuke, of Bury, are the architects, their plans being selected in a limited competition. Mr James Roberts, of Rawtenstall, is the principal contractor. The cost will be upwards of ,6,000. [Building News 9 October 1868 page 692]

CO-OPERATION IN LANCASHIRE - Few Co-operative stores in Lancashire have had such a large share of success than the Rawtenstall Industrial Co-operative Society, near Bacup. On Saturday it held a soiree which was attended by 1,500 persons, to inaugurate the opening of new stores, recently erected at a cost of ,7,000 from designs by Messrs. Maxwell and Tuke of Bury. The society was formed short of twenty years ago by a few men whose capital was only a guinea, and has gone on increasing year by year, other businesses than that of grocery and provision dealing, such as drapery, tailoring, boot, shoe and clog making, and butchering, having been added. At present the society has 960 members, with a subscribed capital of ,11,020-9s-5d and a loan capital of ,1,846-9s-9d, transacting a business of over ,30,000 per annum, and realising clear profits of over ,1000 per quarter which, after paying interest on the capital, is divided on members’ purchases, no less than 2s 5:d per pound being the average of the latter. The society’s assets amount to , 14,544-8s-7d. In the new building that has been erected there is a large newsroom and a library, well-stocked with standard and recent works; also a large assembly room, capable of holding between 1,400 and 1,500 persons. At the meeting the chair was occupied by Captain Patrick, inspector of factories, and letters of apology had been received from Mr Hughes MP and Mr John Stuart Mill. The latter gentleman said that the prosperous condition of the society and the extension of the co-operative principle to mills as well as stores in that district was highly gratifying. [The Times 1 December 1869 Page 7]

INAUGURATION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE HALL RAWTENSTALL -  The inauguration of the Rawtenstall Industrial Co-operative Society's new stores and public hall was celebrated in the large room of that building on Saturday evening last by a tea meeting, to which about 1,500 persons sat down. The following is the architect’s report:

A few years ago the Co-operative Rawtenstall, finding that their business was overgrowing the premises which they now occupy, resolved upon building new stores, and after much deliberation a site suitable for the purpose was obtained on the Blackburn-road. Application was now made to eight architects to submit designs in competition, two premiums being offered in addition to the commission for carrying out the work. When the designs were sent in the two best were found to be by Messrs. Maxwell and Tuke, of Bury, to whom the two premiums were therefore awarded. They, however, consented to forego the second premium, which was divided as an honorarium amongst the unsuccessful competitors. The design chosen has been carried out almost in its entirety, and may be roughly mapped out into three sections: the trade or shoe department, the educational. and the public department. The trade department necessarily occupies the first place, and we will take the different trades seriatim in the order of their importance. The grocer has a large shop facing Blackburn-road. 36 feet by 26 feet, shelved all round. The counters up the two sides are of mahogany, that across the end, being intended for cheese, butter, etc., is of sycamore. In the middle of the shop there is a comfortable double seat fixed between two pillars, nicely covered with black leather. Passing through the grocer’s shop, but in connection with it, is the flour store, a room, 29 feet by 18 feet, on the sides of which are bins supplied by shoots from the room above. A door into the side street from this shop obviates the necessity of customers passing again through the grocer's shop after they have been served with flour. The cellar throughout the greater of the building is used by the grocer for storing goods; one end is kept especially dark and cool for the reception of butter. The area of these cellars amounts to 320 square yards. Over the grocer's and flour shops are the store-rooms for grocery goods, tea. etc. These are well lighted, and communicate immediately with the hoist which connects the basement, ground, and first floor.

The draper's shop is a large and well lighted room facing Blackburn-road and the principal side street, and measures 27 feet by 22 feet. It is countered and shelved somewhat similar to the grocer’s shop, and at the back is a room for the display of upholstered goods, 22 feet by 13 feet.  The tailor’s shop faces towards a side street, and is 31 feet by 13 feet, with tailors' workrooms, fitting-on rooms, etc., attached. The shoemakers' and cloggers' department is next to this, comprising a shop 15 feet by 18 feet, cloggers' workshop, cellar and storeroom. This department, as well as the tailors’, has a separate entrance at the back for the workpeople. The butchers' shop is in the side street opposite to the one in which are the tailors’ and cloggers’ shops, and is close to the slaughter house, which is detached building on the lower part of the ground. The floor of this shop is composed of cast-iron beams and stone landings, and is over a cellar which is intended to be used for salting. The office in this street will complete the portion of the building devoted commercial purposes; this is a room 20 feet by 15 feet, communicating directly with every part of the premises. The whole of the locks throughout will be subject to one master key, so that the manager can overlook any portion of the building with the greatest ease. A spacious safe is attached to the office, and overhead on the first-floor is a pleasant board-room, 20 feet by 15 feet, with a waiting room for travellers on the same landing.

We now come to that portion of the building which is intended to have educational influence, and this comprises a large and well-lighted news-room containing four square yards, library 20 feet by 14 feet. These rooms are comfortably fitted up with seats, tables, and desks, and have separate entrance from the side street. In addition to rooms there is room 40 feet by 22 feet over the drapers’ shop, which is intended for a club room. This also has a private entrance.   The large public assembly-room, with its attendant rooms, will complete the description of the place. This is a fine room, 90 feet long and 55 feet wide the widest part, and with the gallery, is capable of holding nearly 1,500 persons. The roof is splendid piece of carpentry, but is hid from sight by a plain but tasteful ceiling. The principals of the roof are supported by ornamental cast-iron brackets, which stand on handsome carved stone corbels in the walls; these brackets are painted in quiet salmon and blue colours, and the effect is very pleasing. The room is seated with reversible seats, with cast-iron brackets; the tables also being made act as seats when not required as tables. The light is supplied by five handsome sunlights in the ceiling, and sundry brackets on the walls. The whole of the building throughout is heated with superheated water, by Mr. J. P. Longbottom, of Pleasington. The provision for tea-making is rather a novelty. A large tin cistern an upper room is heated with gas, the bottom of the cistern being corrugated to expose much of the heat as possible; from the cistern the tea is drained through pipes into the large room, where there is a serving-table upon which to place the urns to fill.

 The description of the exterior of the building may be summed up in a few words. The instructions to the architects were to spare nothing in construction, but to economise in ornament; and the result a large strong but not an elaborate building. The walls are faced with parpoints with Longridge stone dressings, nearly 700 cubic feet of which have been used. The cost, of the whole work, including heating, painting, fittings, etc. will be little under £7,000, the principal part of which has been done Mr. Roberts, builder, Rawtenstall. [Bury Times 4 December 1869 page 7]

Reference    Building News 9 October 1868 page 692
Reference    The Times Wednesday 1 December 1869 Page 7 Column 6
Reference    Bury Times Saturday 4 December 1869 page 7 – opening