Co-operative Conference – 1. Chairman’s Remarks

October 1891

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 09 October 1891

Co-operative Conference at Denaby Main.

How to Reach the Poorer Classes.

A conference of delegates from the societies in the South Yorkshire district was held in the schoolroom, Denaby Main, on Saturday afternoon.

The chair was taken by Mr W.H.Chambers, the manager of the local colliery. There were also on the platform the Executive Committee: Mr W Llewelyn, of Sheffield, the chairman; W Knowles of Sheffield, the district secretary; G Wheelhouse of Barnsley, the statistical secretary; D Jennings of Masborough; T Whitfield of Kilnhurst; and C Wightman of Doncaster. The Reverend WH Butler, curate in charge at Denaby Main, was also on the platform.

Delegates were present as follows: Sheffield, 5, Brightside and Carbrook 2; Ecclesall 2; Doncaster 3; Kilnhurst 1; Parkgate 3; Masborough 3; Airedale 2; Sowerby bridge 2; Mexborough 3

The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said it seemed years since the friends at Denaby Main had the pleasure of meeting the delegates from the South Yorkshire society. On the occasion of the first visit to Denaby Main the local store was only a small affair. He supposed every society began in that modest way, but now things were very different. It was still true that the society at Denaby Main was a small but it was certainly not a struggling one —(hear, hear)—and he did suppose that anyone who had joined the Denaby stores would care to join any of the large ostentatious societies surrounding them. (Laughter).

They at Denaby Main were “a little Switzerland” in themselves – (laughter and hear, hear) – and they could afford to help their great big neighbours a little bit. (Hear, hear).

They had had support at Denaby from persons living under the shadow of neighbouring stores, but they had said to such persons “you had better go to those near; we don’t want to trespass on other domains.” Certainly it had been a struggle for them at Denaby Main to attain to such a position.

No doubt many persons present were acquainted with the Denaby Main balance sheet and would see the quite unique position that the Denaby Main society now held. They were almost the most prosperous of the societies in the South Yorkshire District. This rather tended to encourage any who might be somewhat backward as new beginners and those who were disposed to start a similar society would able to look at the strides made at Denaby Main by simple industry and “sticking to it.” (Hear. hear).

Mr Knowles, in reply, said they were pleased to all the conferences at small as well as large places. They would have been glad had there been more time to spend there because they were alongside the old romantic place of Conisborough and it would have been nice to stroll and amid its attractive haunts. (Hear, hear). Denaby Main was certainly an important colliery suburb – a suburb of Mexborough and Conisborough.

The Chairman: No, Denaby Main is not a suburb of Conisborough (laughter).

Mr Knowles: Historically it is Sir. (Laughter).

So far as the Chairman’s remarks about the local society were concerned, the large societies no doubt at charity enough to grant the Denaby Main society all the good ideas they had about themselves. (Laughter).