Aspatria Agricultural Co-operative

Aspatria Agricultural Society originated in the idea of a small group of farmers, including William Norman and John Twentyman, to form a small company to enable them to purchase feeding stuffs and manures on a guaranteed quality basis. It was decided to form a cooperative, and at the instigation of Twentyman and Norman the Aspatria Agricultural Cooperative Society was registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act in April 1870, the Society formed on a subscription of £1 shares. Before an Act of 1906 there was no legislation to protect farmers from exploitation by safeguarding the quality of raw materials. The Society's aim was to protect its members' interests by only buying fertilisers and feeding stuffs under a guaranteed standard. The result of this principle was a court case which was to prove the Society's effectiveness following the very first order placed by the new cooperative (see CR AAC CO7/1-2); they refused to pay more than the market value for a consignment of guano advertised as having a very high ammonia content but which on analysis proved to be of inferior quality. The cooperative was sued and lost the case, but appealed against the judgement and eventually settled out of court at a cost of £630 to the Society and over £2000 to the seller. John Twentyman also worked to establish an accessible and affordable agricultural college in the area, again forming a company on £1 shares (the Aspatria School Company), and occupying Sir Wilfrid Lawson's Temperance Hall. The Aspatria Agricultural College moved into new premises when it was sold to Dr Webb, and continued until the First World War.

More information

  • A full description is available on our online database

  • Reference number: CR AAC

Co-operative organisations Aspatria Agricultural Co-operative

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