The Co-Op on Brunswick Street

The purpose-built Keighley Co-Operative Society Central Stores on Brunswick Street were officially opened on 24th April 1886. The new stores succeeded the shop on Low Street as the Society’s main Central Stores. Brunswick Street, which used to run parallel to Hanover Street, was demolished to make way for the new town centre shopping precinct in the 1960s.The idea of the new Central Stores started a few years earlier and their creation meant buying up and demolishing fifteen cottages, a van house, a large workshop and a yard – at a cost back then of £2,650.

The architect was David Weatherhead of Keighley. The building was 32 feet high, with a frontage of 46 feet and a depth of 36 feet. The Tailoring and Shoemaking Departments had moved onto the site as early as 1884.The opening was celebrated with a lantern lecture (the PowerPoint of the day!) given by Hargreaves Jackson on ‘Co-operative Thrift, as Exhibited in the History of the Halifax Flour Society’. At various points the Central Stores included the selling of groceries, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, boots, shoes and clogs, clock, watches and jewellery, and furnishings; as well as housing a restaurant.

The illustration is from ‘Half a Century of Co-operation in Keighley – 1860-1910’ by Joseph Rhodes, published by the Keighley Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd. in 1911. The black and white photograph is a queue for margarine outside the Central Stores in 1917, from the Bill Parker collection held at Keighley Local Studies Library and released in 2004 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Keighley public library.

The two colour photographs are of Brunswick Arcade, part of the Airedale Shopping Centre, that was built over Brunswick Street in the 1960s. The photographs were taken in 1986 and are from a set of slides donated to the History Society by centre manager Steve Seymour.

The Co-Op on Brunswick Street and Brunswick Arcade in Airedale Shopping Centre.

Author: Admin Tim

Tim is a committee member of the Keighley and District Local History Society, with responsibilities for archiving the physical and digital collections, and managing some of the social media channels. He moved to Keighley about ten years ago and joined the Society to learn more about the area.

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