Leeds Co-operative Society blue plaque in Leeds

Leeds Co-operative Society Was founded in 1847 when workers at Holbeck's Benyon & Co flax-spinning mill initiated the raising of funds in instalments from working-class families to rent a mill on this site. 'The People's Mill' provided them with wholesome, reasonably-priced flour. By 2007 co-operatives had spread worldwide with 700 million members - but Leeds Co-operative Society was still the oldest in existence.

The Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society (Leeds Co-op) was a British independent co-operative society based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, which merged with United Co-operatives in 2007.Leeds Co-op was founded in 1847 as a Co-operative Flour Mill Society, workers at Benyon & Co's flax spinning mill raising funds through instalments to acquire some land. By the end of the year it was selling flour cheaply to its members and the price of flour in the Borough of Leeds was lowered considerably. A mill, The People's Mill, was built in Leeds, just opposite Marshall's Mill, but has since been demolished. By the 1860s it was the country's largest co-operative society and it became the City's major retailer. Although it started as a flour miller, the society soon diversified into food and non-food retailing. By late 2006 Leeds Co-op was the oldest independent society in Britain, one of the largest businesses in Leeds., and the 19th largest co-operative Society in the United Kingdom, as other societies merged.At its merger with United, the society stood at over 700 employees and 21,000 members, trading at twenty-one food supermarkets, seventeen travel agencies, eighteen funeral homes, six optical units and a large property portfolio in West Yorkshire. It was a shareholder of the Co-operative Group and traded using the “Co-op” brand.In December 2006, Leeds members voted to merge the society with United Co-operatives, the second largest society in the UK, subject to a further vote on 8 January 2007. [1] The members voted once again for merger, and Leeds Society ceded their assets to United in mid January 2007. Later in 2007, United merged with the Co-operative Group, the world's largest single co-operative.

Source: dbpedia

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