Our heritage

In this section

We can trace our roots back to one of the first ever co-ops in our region.

Founded in Colchester in 1861, local people came together to set up a shop selling quality food at affordable prices – the very thing their community needed, but until then weren’t always able to get.

In fact, we can even go back further than that, with early co-ops starting in Ipswich in the 1840s, These early attempts to bring co-operation to our heartland weren’t successful, but it does mean it’s safe to say that co-operation has been alive and well across our region for over 150 years.

Got a co-op memory?

We're collecting stories of our history across the region. If you've got a memory of the co-op in your community, we'd love it if you could share it with us.

Early co-operators in our region

Co-operation has been alive and well in our region for over 150 years. These three gentlemen were, amongst others, some of the earliest co-operators in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and our co-op today is directly linked to their pioneering work.

George Hines

George Hines

Secretary of Ipswich Co-op 1869–1873

Robert Castle

Robert Castle

Founder of Colchester Co-op in 1861

J.T. Gee

J.T. Gee

Made Permanent Secretary of Norwich Co-op in 1884

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