FIELDHEAD CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY Ltd.
In the early part of the 19th century the local population had lived through dark times. The price of food and other necessities for hand loom weavers was very high. Child labour was extensive and poverty prevailed. Workers started to band together to try to help themselves. From 1824 to 1840 there was much activity and many co-operative societies were set up in the Huddersfield area. Most failed but four still existed in 1910 including those set up in Kirkheaton.
Fieldhead on Bankfield Lane was the first of the two societies formed in this village. It was established in 1834, (ten years before The Rochdale Pioneers) by co-founders David Dawson and Joseph Roebuck with capital raised by ten local weavers. In the early days the store went under the name David Dawson & Co but later changed its name to “Fieldhead Co-operative Society Ltd.”. By 1912 it was known as Kirkheaton Co-operative & Industrial Society Ltd. The rules of the society were very simple – to distribute profits to members. It was well known for-producing a good “divi” or dividend.
In 1839 Percival Senior (the 2 x g grandfather of David Senior) was appointed store manager, a position he held for 26 years.
At the centenary in 1934 all members were given a pewter tea pot and a commemorative plaque was displayed in the store. The society’s fortunes later changed due to supermarket competition and it amalgamated with Heckmondwike before finally closing. The property is now owned by “Select and Save”. In spite of major alterations over the years it still retains many of the original 18th century features.
John Taylor Kirkheaton History Group