Toad Lane: The Start of the Co-operative Movement

Factory owner's opened general stores.

A fellow member has just passed on to me a link to a very important story: The Story of Toad Lane.

It quickly outlines the horrible conditions that lead to the creation of the world's first cooperative.

Many factory owners organized general stores, where they sold goods at high prices. They forced the workers to shop there- and fired them if they did not.

The store owners mixed cheap substitutes into the food in order to increase their profits. Flour was mixed with lime or broken rice, coffee with chicory, cocoa with brown soil, and tea with dried leaves.

False weights and measures were used, but there was nothing the workers could do about it.

Fortunately the workers came up with a cooperative solution based on solid principles, which they recorded and shared with others. These principles became the basis for the entire cooperative movement worldwide.

"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead