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Co.Op.number.

Radiorails

master brummie
There is a form of 'divi' still in use by the Co-Op, it is known a Membership Rewards and apparently is 5% of purchase value. However, this scheme does not apply in Central England and a few other places which are separate Co-Ops.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Two not very good photos of staff calculating the divi , from "The Co-op in Birmingham & the Black country " by Ned Williams
calculating coop divi0001.jpg calculating coop divi0002.jpg
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Excellent photos Mike. Just shows the volume of staff needed to process the divi. The ladies would have been comptometers and would have used a machine like the one below in the 1930s (think it's an American machine though). Apparently the machines even detected errors, but how that was achieved I can't even start to imagine.

There are 12 Comptometer staff working in the first image and they'd be doing a job which a computer today would take a fraction of the time. Although it was said that the comptometer machine was a very fast machine for its time, Viv.

image.jpeg
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Ok this is starting to make sense now. I remember the ‘checks’, little tickets that the milk, bread Man etc gave on payment. He would write the value of goods sold and you gave your unique (7 digit) reference number.

I bet sorting the checks must have been very time consuming.

I used to see the number written on many a door frame when I worked in the building trade.

We had teams of comptometer operators at work, we would send in our Bills of Quantity’s to be checked. They would operate at lightning speed with both hands on the keyboards. One lady showed me how some of them only used the keys 1 to 5. If they wanted to punch in 7, they would press 3 and 4, as this was faster than going up the keys.

I know that they would do the totals twice, and pencil it in. If the two totals did not match they would divide the difference by nine. If it did divide by nine, then there was a transposition error.
 

pjmburns

master brummie
Co-op numbers were not always 7 digit. Both my Mom and her mom (my Gran) had 6 digits. Always said as 3 two digit numbers - 169698 was sixteen, ninety six, ninety eight and never one. six, nine, six, nine, eight.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
There are a few insights recorded about Co-op dividend schemes on Rootschat (not necessarily about the Birmingham Co-op scheme, but most probably similar). Here are a few extracts:


Source : https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=273034.0
Extracted from thread : Do your remember the Co-op divi?



"They had large books wth carbon paper in between the sheets. You quoted your number, I still remember mine and my mothers. The number and cost were recorded, the top perforated sheet was torn off and you were given the tiny 'check' with the details on. My mother insited every check had to be saved and she calculated the totals to the penny. No calculators just pencil and paper. The divi was paid out at the large Co - op department store in town. It was paid out on the top floor and you had to queue all the way up 4 flights of stairs to get your money. Those were the days." (Quoted by jaywit)


"Did your Co-op stores have tills with little numbered levers on the top? You quoted your number and the assistant set the levers correspondingly, so the till roll recorded your purchase. Presumably the accounts people would have to wade through all these transactions and allocate the appropriate amount to your account. We used to get a little coloured receipt at the time of purchase with the amount spent. I think the dividends were issued twice a year."
(Quoted by stoney)

"I remember the divi in the 1950's. We used to quote a number and it was written on a ticket with a carbon copy. The tickets were saved in a shoe box and then Mum would calculate how much she would have to come back."

"The day everyone went to the Coop Hall to collect their divi was known as "The Races". There was an outcry when they stopped the cheque numbers and gave stamps instead!"

(Quoted by suzard)


"In 1964 I started work at the Emporium in Blackburn. H/O of CWS in the area.
The Co-op copy if those little slips that customers were given came to the Check Office where each one was recorded by punching holes into cards. All the cards then went into the sorting machine which sorted them into better order. Then through the tab machine which printed the numbers and amount spent. (Standing there and checking that no untoward amount had gone through could be rather boring).
Then by Divi Time, all the money spent had been calculated, vouchers printed, tons and tons of people coming for their spoils and the process starting again - or should I say continuing - for next time". (
Quoted by msr)
 

devonjim

master brummie
Remember my mother having such a membership passbook, good to see that you could earn the "divi" from other societies. My gran had a five figure number 38255, my mom a six figure number 10,13,97. When we married in 1968 we had a membership number but it never became ingrained in the memory.
 

Banjo

master brummie
  1. Still have our card from 1967. Funny now, to think of the milkman coming to your door every day and you knowing his name. Together with Butchers and Bakers and all those friendly independent shops becoming extinct, we've lost a lot of those personal services.
  2. CO-OP Card copy.jpg
 

badpenny

Deleted Upon Request
Moms number 424206, funny how i can remember that, but can't find me specs i put down half an hour ago!!!
 

Lady Penelope

master brummie
Mom worked in the Co-op offices during the war sorting out the divi. Funny, I can remember Mom's number - 16625 and Nan's - 35383 but I can't for the life of me remember my own. I'm still a member and get vouchers at the end of the year. However, I don't use the Co-op very often. I was glad to see that they have reinstated the Co-op next to the Plaza, Stockland Green.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Going back to Vivienne’s first post the leaflet tells us that the Birmingham Co-operative Society was based on the Rochdale Society which was founded in 1844.

So why did the Birmingham Society take over 35 more years to be formed?

Looking at the report of the first meeting in 1884 at Duddeston Ward Hall the President William Roberts gives an insight....Birmingham had taken the lead in questions of social and political economy, but had been so backward in co-operation...in Birmingham they had been boycotted. Some grocers and provision dealers had not only refused to sell to the co-operators when they went into the market with cash in their hands, but some had even memorialised the employers of some of the co-operators, and had threaten to withdraw their custom if they permitted their employees to remain connected with the co-operative movement....several previous attempts at co-operation had failed...it had been said by someone that the soil of Birmingham was not congenial for co-operation.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
At the same meeting Mr Andrews of Coventry said that a suggestion had been made that whenever a dividend had been declared it should be entered in the passbook of the members.
 

FNQBRUMMIE

knowlegable brummie
Does anyone remember this ? You gave it to the guy delivering at your door, goods from the co-op, bread, milk, I cant quite remember but Mum said tell him our number Bab. And I still remember, it was 55693. oh and the telephone number. When you answer the phone, Mum said you say the number. It was Sheldon 5513
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Does anyone remember this ? You gave it to the guy delivering at your door, goods from the co-op, bread, milk, I cant quite remember but Mum said tell him our number Bab. And I still remember, it was 55693. oh and the telephone number. When you answer the phone, Mum said you say the number. It was Sheldon 5513
I certainly do, the guy delivering gave you a tiny little perforated edge receipt.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i remember them then mort..we had our bread and milk delivered...pretty sure i was not given moms divi number though

lyn
 
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