What is believed to have been the first co-operative society in Britain was set up in Portsmouth in 1796 by dockyard workers fed up with being ripped off by local tradesmen.
The aim of the early co-operators was to offer an alternative by organising and controlling production and distribution of goods and services under a system operated by and for the people.
The Portsea Island co-operative was set up by a handful of volunteers in a rented corner shop in Charles Street, Landport, on this day in 1873.
The shop was only open on Friday and Saturday evenings, but the white-aproned co-operators did a brisk business.
Five years later they moved into purpose-built premises in Besant Road and by the late 1880s an impressive department store had been established in Fratton Road with grocery, boots, drapery and bakery departments and stables – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.