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The history of the Society goes back to the early 1800's when people joined together to provide good wholesome food, services and products, for themselves and their local communities. At one time there were around 30 independent co-operative societies trading in East Lothian, the Scottish Borders, South West Scotland and Angus. By 1998 most of these societies had come together to become Lothian Borders and Angus Co-operative Society.
The earliest examples of co-operative societies within our trading area include the Galashiels and Hawick societies, which were both established in 1839. Records, however, suggest that the history of the Galashiels Society dates back many years before 1839, when its membership and assets were transferred from a long-established mill-workers association whose practices closely resembled those of a co-operative society.
The Selkirk Co-operative Society, in the Scottish Borders, was the next society to arrive on the scene when it opened its doors in 1846. This was followed twelve months later by the formation of the Dumfries and Maxwelltown Co-operative Society in South West Scotland. The Forfar Free Trade Society, formed in 1850, was the first co-operative to get off the ground in the East Angus region. It was over a decade later, however, before a co-operative presence was to be felt in the East Lothian region with the establishment of the Tranent Co-operative Society, in 1862.
By the early 1900's, a large number of co-operative societies had established themselves throughout our trading area. Over the years social and economic conditions led to mergers and amalgamations resulting in what we now recognise as Lothian Borders and Angus Co-operative Society.
In common with other co-operative societies throughout the UK, Lothian Borders and Angus Co-operative Society grew from the inspiration of the Rochdale Pioneers who established a little shop in the Lancashire town, selling pure and unadulterated food at fair prices, using honest weights and measures. The Society is proud to share the principles and values laid down by the Pioneers whose ethical values include honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
The illustration below details the mergers and amalgamations leading to the eventual formation of Lothian Borders & Angus Co-operative Society.
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