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Co-oP and Library

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There's a thread currently in the Historic Gallery about the old Co-oP building at Bedlington Station.  Was there ever an old Co-oP building similar to the one at the Station on Front Street;  I can't remember?  Second, was there ever a Public Library in Bedders back in the day ... again, I can't recall one from the 60s?

I'm not talking about anything new.

Edited by Symptoms

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1 hour ago, Symptoms said:

There's a thread currently in the Historic Gallery about the old Co-oP building at Bedlington Station.  Was there ever an old Co-oP building similar to the one at the Station on Front Street;  I can't remember?  Second, was there ever a Public Library in Bedders back in the day ... again, I can't recall one from the 60s?

I'm not talking about anything new.

 I can remember a COOP butcher in Station road at the stn about where Keenleysides is. I'm 90% sure it was a Cramlington COOP butcher. My mother would take me there in a pushchair and we often left the butchers with a piece of white suet for me to chew. This was early 1950's. 

 When I was a little older I used to go to the library at the stn. The entrance wasn't where it is now on the end of the building but faced east onto its small car park. This library was there in the 1950's and possibly before then.

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@Symptoms & @Jammy - I've been trying to find an old photo of the Co-op building on Station Street as I was going to add photo + info into the album on page 2 of Historic Bedlington>Old Photos of Bedlington 2. I can't find an old photo/postcard just showing the building so I will be posting an old postcard of Station Street + some google street view images of the Co-op building.

Jammy - your right in that it was Cramlington Co-op on Station Street. My mother-in-law, from Nelson Village, Cramlington, used to work there in the late 1930's - early 1940's.

Co-op.thumb.png.2e4a5e3516e2c9d5f45e31275fb55735.png

I don't know when it ceased being Cramlington Co-op. I always remembered it as the Dole/Unemployment Office in the early 1960's. The Dole office was on the 1st floor (I can't remember the ground floor being in use in the 1960's - but it could have been 🙃) and that's where I first 'Signed On' in 1965 when first leaving school.

The library building on the corner of Station Road & Jubilee Terrace, next to the Bedlington Co-op (or was it called the Blyth Co-op back in the 1960's) used to be the colliery school and there is info and photos in the album  - Bedlington Station (Sleekburn) 1st School, started pre 1858. An old school mate - Janice Metcalf - gave me a photo of her mam at the school in c1938. By then the old colliery school had been extended. In the 1960's I knew the building as the library and the lace where the school meals were made. 

1859.jpg

 

1938c Doreen Bibby comp.jpg

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)

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So there was nowt on Front St or nearby?  I never used any 'public library' in Bedders as all my borrowings were from the school library.

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In the photo provided by @Eggy1948 it shows the end of the COOP building and a window with a sign ??????????  Dept. in it. I think that was the butchers. To the right of that as we look at it there was a COOP general food store. Everything, well almost, was sold loose and measured out as required such as a 8ozs of sugar or 2lb of flour, etc.

 I remember a big red meat slicing machine sitting on a counter but not sure if the counter was in that COOP food store. The slicing machine had a very sharp spinning metal disk which cut the meat into slices and dropped it neatly onto a moving flat bed. It was propelled by someone turning a handle.

 I have in my mind the name of a man who could have been connected with that COOP. He is Joe Kane, a short dark guy with long sideburns. He may have been the manager and possibly a councillor. Can anyone confirm or not what I think? Eggy, perhaps the mother-in-law will know. I may be incorrect as this is drawn from memories made 60+years ago.

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Unfortunately @Jammy - nobody left in mine or the wife's family left to ask. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cowell family butchers, across the road, from Cramlington Co-op, were in business/competition at the same time. Do you know any of the Cowell family?

@Symptoms we Bedlington Station lads wouldn''t know about a library at the Top End. In Evan Martin's books he gives info on the West End Branch - Bedlington equitable Industrial Co-operative Society but that's a building I have no memory of. 

95331499_CoopWestEnd.thumb.jpg.5e95610b52b420f6ed38e538c77ce25f.jpg

I definitely remember the Co-op presence on Front Street East. That's where we had to go to get school clothing for the BGS - it wasn't the real school clothing, just a similar colour green jacket. The real BGS gear was from Rutherfords (I think) in Newcastle. We had to get the school badge from Rutherfords to sew onto the jacket pocket of the Co-op green blazer. The East End Coop shops started at the Locke building and went down to nearly to the Dun Cow.

647817050_FrontStreetEastc1900.jpg.2bfe8515fb0f27d4412b5fa92f76e5c5.jpg

1943141507_FrontStreetEast3c1900withtext.jpg.17f08820e33a8bb1f144e76029b04e83.jpg

Edited by Alan Edgar (Eggy1948)
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  Eggy, I should have put the brain in gear and thought about the date the mother-in-law worked at the stn COOP. She would be very, very old now.

I occasionally come across Bobby Cowell so will ask when he opened the shop and if he knows anything about the butcher or the COOP across the road. He's older than me so perhaps he knows a bit more.

 

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@Jammy - according to the wife we have a photo of her mam and another lass working at the Co-op sitting on the co-op butchers van outside the co-op. Unfortunately she doesn't know where it is. 🙃

A few years back I scanned every photo we had loose or in an album so I thought we now had everything on the PC's. Looks like she still has a shoe box stuffed away in one of the bedroom cupboards🙁 

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According to one of the "Bedlingtonshire Revisited" booklets, there was a branch of the Bedlington Coop at Netherton Colliery1609834998_NethertonCoop2.thumb.jpg.86fb62cbe338fce457ef03886933ee89.jpg

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1 hour ago, James said:

According to one of the "Bedlingtonshire Revisited" booklets, there was a branch of the Bedlington Coop at Netherton Colliery

@James - there is a 1963 photo of the Bedlington Co-op, after it had burnt out, at Netherton Colliery in the album 'Historic Bedlington>Netherton/Nedderton old photos' by @Carole.

You could add your photo/scan + info, from the Bedlingtonshire Revisited booklet, within Carole's entry.

 

  

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22 hours ago, Symptoms said:

So there was nowt on Front St or nearby?  I never used any 'public library' in Bedders as all my borrowings were from the school library.

@Symptoms - there was. A few members of the local Facebook group say it was where the Community Center is and @James , in 2016, posted this comment on this site :- ' 

The TSB was on the ground floor.

The top floor was the 'chute' (the Dr Pit Mechanics Welfare Institute). It had 3 billiard tables, a small library and a caretaker who ran the 'chute' with a firm hand and was quick to throw you out if you were misbehaving in any way. Can anyone remember his name?'

Not sure if I have the entrance to the library marked correctly :)

 

 

tsb text.jpg

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In the late fifties - early sixties, the nearest library was at Bedlington Station. I'm pretty sure of this because pupils at Westridge School were given - if they wished to participate - the chance to earn house-points during the summer holiday by completing as many questions as they could in a general knowledge quiz set by the teachers and covering various subjects. A good friend of mine from a family with limited means (father deceased) was given by the school, at the start of the holiday, 3 return tickets for Raisbecks bus from Netherton to Bedlington Station in order to be able to use the reference library. We always travelled and worked together on our questionnaires. 

If there had been a library at Bedlington surely she would have got a ticket to Bedlington?

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On 16/02/2021 at 21:00, Jammy said:

  I occasionally come across Bobby Cowell so will ask when he opened the shop and if he knows anything about the butcher or the COOP across the road. He's older than me so perhaps he knows a bit more.

 

The shop was there before Bobby took it over but I can not remember the name of the owner. Bobby would have taken it over in the early sixties I think it was him and Raffie Davison that owned the shop at that time but I could be wrong.

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I was told that there was a  board on the wall inside the Cowell's butchers where anyone could pin old photos. Next time your passing 

@Jammy - pop in and see if they still have their Gallery of old photos.

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  Eggy, I should have put the brain in gear and thought about the date the mother-in-law worked at the stn COOP. She would be very, very old now.

I occasionally come across Bobby Cowell so will ask when he opened the shop and if he knows anything about the butcher or the COOP across the road. He's older than me so perhaps he knows a bit more.

 I will pop into Cowells and see if there is a photo board. I was in about 2 weeks ago and didn't notice anything.

 I wondered if there was a butchers there before it was Cowells. Pete suggests Raffie Davison had something to do with it. I know there was a local butcher called Raffie Douglas(possibly). He worked for the COOP on the butcher van. My mother often bought her meat from him when he called. The Raffie I'm thinking of lived in Melrose terrace at one time.

 

 

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On 18/02/2021 at 15:38, Canny lass said:

In the late fifties - early sixties, the nearest library was at Bedlington Station. I'm pretty sure of this because pupils at Westridge School were given - if they wished to participate - the chance to earn house-points during the summer holiday by completing as many questions as they could in a general knowledge quiz set by the teachers and covering various subjects. A good friend of mine from a family with limited means (father deceased) was given by the school, at the start of the holiday, 3 return tickets for Raisbecks bus from Netherton to Bedlington Station in order to be able to use the reference library. We always travelled and worked together on our questionnaires. 

If there had been a library at Bedlington surely she would have got a ticket to Bedlington?

CL - looks like the Top End library was just a small branch of the Station Library had had a limited selection.

Some of the comments from the Bygone Bedlington Facebook group where I posted the postcard :- 

Project1.png

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23 hours ago, Alan Edgar (Eggy1948) said:

I was told that there was a  board on the wall inside the Cowell's butchers where anyone could pin old photos. Next time your passing 

@Jammy - pop in and see if they still have their Gallery of old photos.

  I popped in to Cowells today. Bobby wasn't there but did get some info from Nicky and Kevin. The photo board was removed the last time the shop was decorated. Bobby took over the shop from a Mr Wilson. This was early 70's. Hopefully I'll get more info from Bobby when I see him and also something about Cramlington COOP over the road. 

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4 minutes ago, Jammy said:

  I popped in to Cowells today. Bobby wasn't there but did get some info from Nicky and Kevin. The photo board was removed the last time the shop was decorated. Bobby took over the shop from a Mr Wilson. This was early 70's. Hopefully I'll get more info from Bobby when I see him and also something about Cramlington COOP over the road. 

👍

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