Fond memories of the Portsea Island Co-op | Nostalgia

Southern Co-op – originally Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society Ltd – was formed in 1873 by dockyard workers who had transferred from Woolwich docks in east London to Portsmouth dockyard.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:31 pm
Crowds gather outside the Portsea Island Co-op building at Fratton for the store's 1935 Radio Exhibition.
Crowds gather outside the Portsea Island Co-op building at Fratton for the store's 1935 Radio Exhibition.

The workers had previously set up a successful Co-operative Society in Woolwich. When they arrived in Portsmouth they decided to replicate a similar set-up here.

In December 1872, 30 people attended a public meeting and unanimously agreed to pay one shilling (12 old pence) for the establishment of a local co-operative.

After five months, the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society's first shop opened in Charles Street on May 9, 1873.

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Rows of women were employed by the Portsea Island Co-op to keep a tally of every customer's dividend which was paid twice yearly.

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Portsea Island Co-op Co-op workers at the Fratton Road headquarters in 1910 taking part in a fire drill.
Portsea Island Co-op's Copnor 1 branch.
The Portsea Island Co-op band at Hayling Island in 1912