History of Tebay Co-operative Stores
by
Heather Ballantyne

Tebay Co-operative Society was established in 1864 and within 14 days of it opening it had 63 members and £165 capital, and its address was Tebay Cottages. Over the next 15 years its membership would rise to 136 with annual sales of about £3300.00 and it paid a dividend of 3s 4d in the £. The record of the late 1880s showed them selling groceries, boots, shoes and also clogs which they were making themselves. Up to 1900 the range of goods expanded to include earthenware and ironmongery, and started to distribute coal. It was around this time that they opened a drapery store in Mount Pleasant. By now the membership had reached 203 and it was the tenth highest of the 23 retail societies in Cumberland and Westmorland District.

Good progress was made up to the outbreak of the war in 1914 and through the war to 1918 and beyond. By 1920 it had 256 members and it annual trade was £15,845 but its dividend was down to 1s.2d. in the £.

In 1923 they started operating a grocery van which would travel up to 5 miles from the shop. It also had its own lorry which collected milk bought from local farmers who were member of the society. To ensure that there was always plenty of milk additional supplies were obtained from the CWS dairy at Carlisle. 

Over the years to 1950 the Society had to contend with the depression of the 1930's, rationing, shortage of goods and other disruptions caused by the 1939-45 war. Now bread, confectionery, greengrocery, furniture, crockery, paint and wallpaper were added to their range of goods but they had stopped making clogs as there was not the call for them any longer. In addition to the branches at Tebay a second branch was opened in Main Street, Orton. 



Adverts were appearing to encourage people to join the Co-operative Societies and the dividends paid were a big attraction.

By 1963 losses began to occur and it 1965 it was transferred to the Kirkby Stephen Society. At this time the grocery store was in Mount Pleasant a little further down the hill from the drapery store. The drapery store was by this time selling draperies, fashions, men's wear, footwear, furnishing, hardware, radios, televisions and electrical goods.

What prices were being paid in 1964 and what items were being bought in Tebay Drapery:

A pair of Stockings....................................................................................
A Jumper....................................................................................................
A pair of Slippers.......................................................................................
A Shirt........................................................................................................
A Dress.......................................................................................................
Knitting Wool...........................................................................................
6s 11d    (35 pence)
19s 11d   (£1.00)
13s 11d  (70 pence)
15s 6d     (77 1/2 pence)
£1. 9s. 11d  (£1.50)
1s.6d (7 1/2p) and ounce

Soon the Drapery shop closed leaving only groceries but with the opening of supermarkets and more women having their own cars it was not possble to keep the Tebay shops open and now the nearest Co-operative is at Kirkby Stephen or Shap.




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