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Co-op high st bham

Julie Redmond

Brummie babby
Hi,
I was at High Street (BCS Central) from 1979 - 1981 where I worked in the Mens & Boys Wear warehouse on the first floor. My job was to unpack & check all the menswear that came into the department and put it into stock. We also used to handle all the menswear requests for the branches.

The head of the menswear warehouse was Bob Taylor, a real off the wall character. Also working in the warehouse during my time there were Ken (can't remember his surname), Michael Cloonan, Roger Boden (who went on to work for Domec) and me; George... Also tucked away in some small offices located within the warehouse were: Harry Chambers (bespoke tailoring), Clem Owen (menswear buyer), and the head of everything menswear; Mr Mumby.

I'll put a list of people I can remember at the end of this message.

I also got roped into playing football on Sunday mornings for BCS Central with Dave Cutler (Co-op Bank) and Andy Lees (Menswear) at the rather wonderful Co-op Sports & Social Club... That was such a bonus to have that club for free, you wouldn't get that these days.

Things certainly have changed since the 70's... I would join a bunch of the menswear sales staff virtually every lunchtime for a couple of pints & a 'pie, chips 'n peas' at the Yard Of Ale in New Street, then we'd all come back to work and breathe lager fumes over the customers for the rest of the afternoon!
I can remember getting so bladdered one lunchbreak around Christmas time, that when I returned to the warehouse the older guys laid some suits on the floor between the racks of clothing and I was ordered to get my head down & sleep it off!!... Truly great days from a by-gone age.

Here's a list of people I can remember, if you recognise any of them, please let me know!







Mr Mumby (God of Menswear!)

Clem Owen (Menswear Buyer)

Ray ? (Menswear Buyer)

Chris Potter (Menswear)

Trevor Graham (Menswear)

Michael Dukes (Menswear)

Ron Smith (a.k.a. ‘Bengie’) (Menswear)

Andy Lees (Menswear & BCS Central football team)

Ian Wilson (Menswear)

Jonathon Whitlock (Menswear)

Wendy ? (Mens Underwear & Shirts)

Harry Chambers (Bespoke & Alterations)

Bob Taylor (Menswear Stores)

Michael Cloonan (Menswear Stores)

Roger Boden (Menswear Stores & Domec)

George (Menswear Stores & BCS Central football team)

Ken ? (Menswear Stores)

Janet North (Footwear)

Christine Stapley (Footwear)

Dave Cutler (Co-op Bank & BCS Central football team)





Hi
I think the Ray whose surname you can’t remember was Ray Horridge he was a good mate of my husband Kevin Redmond who worked in mens wear, from tales he’s told me and from what I’d seen there ( I worked on handbags department ground floor for Ms Owen then bed linen department Mr Birch) you guys on the first floor had a great time!
Would love to know any contact details for Chris Potter or Ray Horridge Kev would like to get in touch.
 

maypolebaz

master brummie

I have no date with this picture but just looking at it conjoures up some great memories.
Came across this pic while browsing, it looks like it was taken mid-50s.
At that time I was a "Trainee manager" (errand kid). I had to go into that building once a week for night school. One of the subjects was " The origins of the Co-operative movement". As a 16-year old the classes were so crushingly boring that I joined the army !
 

Sheilr

Brummie babby
Hi FrankF,
hopefully here are some pictures of the basement in the Big Top site just before I left in 1979. If you click on the pics there is description with them. Regards Chris B
Hi, I worked in the basement on the tool section in the early 1960`s. Ted Turner was in charge, Mr. Buxton Supervisor with Mr. Fackerall and Mr. Archer ran the floor.
DOES ANYONE HAVE PHOTOS OR MEMORIES DURING THAT TIME.
hi love worked in basement , remember those people.
Also Susan bauser,
Maureen balding, carol Heath. Mrs Christopher, Rene saterthwaite, Betty heaps. Can see more faces but can't put names to them .
 
Came across this pic while browsing, it looks like it was taken mid-50s.
At that time I was a "Trainee manager" (errand kid). I had to go into that building once a week for night school. One of the subjects was " The origins of the Co-operative movement". As a 16-year old the classes were so crushingly boring that I joined the army !
Used to go with Mom and Gran there to get the divvy great memory
 

sargasosal

Brummie babby
I worked in the furniture dept of the COOP in Birmingham high street during the mid seventies, when the pub bombings happened. When there was a bomb alert we would hear a message over the tannoy announcing extension 123, we new this was our prompt to look for bombs in amongst the furniture until we heard another message saying extension 456. I don't know what I would have done if I had found one, or even recognised it come to that. Lol
 

Julie Redmond

Brummie babby
I worked in the furniture dept of the COOP in Birmingham high street during the mid seventies, when the pub bombings happened. When there was a bomb alert we would hear a message over the tannoy announcing extension 123, we new this was our prompt to look for bombs in amongst the furniture until we heard another message saying extension 456. I don't know what I would have done if I had found one, or even recognised it come to that. Lol
Hi
I was there at the same time too on the Handbag section and we too had to search the bags for bombs! It always used to surprise me that when on occasion they evacuated the buildings they never moved the customers away from the big glass windows, if a bomb had gone off they’re wished they’d moved.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
It was another twenty six years before the Rotunda was completed. Had it been there in 1938 it probably would have been one of the buildings that the Luftwaffe bombed. It certainly would have been a good landmark for them.
 

changinman1

master brummie
Does anyone remember the Birmingham Co-ops GREAT BROOK STREET WAREHOUSE ? It was situated at Great Brook Street / Belmont Row alongside the canal, it was originally the old Birmingham Co-ops bakery, together with stables for the horse drawn vehicles. When I worked for B.C.S in the 1960s the bakery had long been moved to Stechford and the old Bakery or Chateau Belmont as it was known to us was used as a Non Food warehouse, and for business purposes it was called Great Brook St Warehouse, housing Furniture, bedding, Carpets, Toys, and Hardware & Gardening merchandise, it was from here that they serviced the local branches and the city centre department store and also delivered to customers addresses. When you entered the building you literally stepped back in time to the 1930s / 40s, the walls were still tiled in brown glazed tiles on the lower half and white on the upper half, you could see where the ovens once were in the walls by the shape of the bricking up to fill in where they had been, the upper wooden floors still had flour in the joins between the masive floor boards, and as a consequence of this the flour bugs still lived on, so much so that when mattresses for beds were sent out the polythene had to be nicked and the mattress banged to make the bugs fall to the bottom of the packet and let them out before the customer took delivery. (They were harmless by the way) The Manager of the building during my time was a person named Ray Weaving, a large jolly sort of chap, one of his catchphrases was if he thought some thing was poorly done, he would say "look, it's PATHETICAL".The Co-op fleet of vans were kept there and in those days they delivered all over Birmingham and the outlying districts like Bromsgrove etc. Ron Gibson was the Despatch Forman, I can't remember the Despatch Managers name, Ron was excellent if you wanted anything done quickly and delivered to a customer in double quick time. The Forman that was in charge of the Hardware & Gardening was named Stan Simmonds, another of lifes characters (something you don't see much of today), he said to me once "have you heard of the O.B. from Great Barr" so obviously I was curious as to what he was on about, and this is the story he told me. "Firstly I live in Great Barr" he said "and when the wife sends for the chimmney sweep, he comes along and gives our chimmney a good sweeping, when he is finished the wife then asks him into the kitchen and gives him a big slice of home made cake and a cup or two of tea, whilst drinking his tea he would get his customers book out and start writing in it, the wife couldn't help but notice on the top of some of the pages he had written in large letters OB, and being curious she asked him what it meant, and this is what he told her, "OB means OLD BRUSH, and this is for customers who can't wait to get me out of the house in 2 seconds flat without the offer of even a cup of tea, so next time I go I use an old brush so that it doesn't clean the chimmney so effectively and they have to send for me before people like youselves who always treat me kindly, so they end up paying twice for the same service, for you it is a new brush so you get the top class job done" At the warehouse there were times when the flood water drains would back up and when Stan and the staff arrived for work in the morning and it had been torrential rain overnight the ground floor was under 2 or 3 inches of water, he would phone me and say "don't get ringing for anything for the next hour while we bail this lot out, and if you see Floxham -Kidd (Mr F. Loxham-Kidd Personnel Manager) tell him Ideal conditions for the workers, I don't think so !!!". They finally cured the flooding problem by putting a non return valve in the pipe of the flood drains halfway down the yard. The Birmingham Co-Op wouldn't ever spend any money on the place because initially it came under the responsibility of the Furnishing Manager (Keith Seymour in my day) and he didn't want the expense to impact on his departmental trading results, (everything down to a price not up to a standard) He couldn't get away with it today with all this health and safety malarky but thats another story. Right up untill the end you could see the old derelict stables still in the yard where the horses were kept for pulling the bakery wagons in the old days.
Regards Chris B
Iv really enjoyed reading that , thanks so much, its got a place i my heart too having worked there
 

Jaffa

knowlegable brummie
I see my name on this list and it was probable me that got you smashed at the pub, who's missing from your list well there was:-

Gwen Brennan [ school uniforms] with Chris Potter
Selwyn Tudor [ mens wear floor manager]
big Judy [ mens underwear]
little Judy [ Blackwell [ mens wear ]
pearl [mens wear and shirts]
Beryl [ mens wear shirts school wear]
Dolly Andrews [shirts]
Big Tom [ window dresser]
Sandra [window dresser]
Carol [foot wear]
Carol [ 1st floor offices ]
Albert Protty [ mens wear ]
Lynn Williams [ perfumes ]
Rose [ store's ]
Myra Jonson [ ladies wear]
Annette Rabin [ wedding dresses ] my wife
Ken [ photo ]
Kevin Redmond [ menswear ]
Julie Redmond [ ground floor ]
Trevor Tansie [ mens wear ]
Monica Tandie [ mens wear] married Trevor Tansie
Roger [ mens underwear ]

regards Trevor Graham
Trevor!!!.... Found your reply quite by accident.... (only 4 years late!).... Yes, it was you who got me so bladdered that I had to sleep it off in the "Mens & Boys" warehouse on a bed of brand new 2 piece suits!... Did you see the photo of you, me & Michael Dukes further back in this thread?... Great days... "Gwen Brennan", now there's a name I quite forgot... What was the name of the older guy who was head of school uniforms? And can you remember Ray's last name? Ray used to be on men's shirts (before Roger) and then became a buyer with Clem Owen.
 

Jaffa

knowlegable brummie
Hi
I think the Ray whose surname you can’t remember was Ray Horridge he was a good mate of my husband Kevin Redmond who worked in mens wear, from tales he’s told me and from what I’d seen there ( I worked on handbags department ground floor for Ms Owen then bed linen department Mr Birch) you guys on the first floor had a great time!
Would love to know any contact details for Chris Potter or Ray Horridge Kev would like to get in touch.
Unfortunately I have no contact details as I left the Co-op in 1981 and moved away from Brum in 1985.... You might try Trevor Graham on here as he worked with Chris and Ray a lot longer than I did...... If the "Ray" you're thinking of was a very funny, dark haired Jewish guy with a bit of a comb-over going on, then that must be the same guy!
 

Julie Redmond

Brummie babby
Trevor!!!.... Found your reply quite by accident.... (only 4 years late!).... Yes, it was you who got me so bladdered that I had to sleep it off in the "Mens & Boys" warehouse on a bed of brand new 2 piece suits!... Did you see the photo of you, me & Michael Dukes further back in this thread?... Great days... "Gwen Brennan", now there's a name I quite forgot... What was the name of the older guy who was head of school uniforms? And can you remember Ray's last name? Ray used to be on men's shirts (before Roger) and then became a buyer with Clem Owen.
Hi!
My husband Kevin Redmond used to work with Ray Horwich on the men’s shirts too.. the tales he tells! Taking home shirts to wear for a night out then taking them back to put in stock !!
I worked on the handbag counter initially with Miss Owen as boss ( you wouldn’t cross her) then moved to bed linen with Mr Birch as manager he was very tall guy looked a bit like someone from the Adams family films.
 

Villian64

knowlegable brummie
I have great memories of the coop ....as I said I did my butchery apprenticeship there. My first day and a lot of training was done at the Co-ops meat depot in Albert street which was ran by a George Izatt a big scots man who ....only being 17 was quite wary of as he looked intimidating. The 2 area managers at that time for meat were Dennis Mace and Geoff Lowcock....anyone remember these guys....
remember those 2 names..my dad was a co-op butcher Reg Sarsfield..Mace was area manager , didnt like him Geoff was dads mate, i did my training late 70's..remember a area manager Brown?
 
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