Scotlands History

Fenwick weavers

A group of 15 weavers from the small Ayrshire village of Fenwick founded the world’s first co-operative.

...to make good & sufficient work and exact neither higher nor lower prices than are accustomed.

Pledge signed by Fenwick Weavers’ Society, 1761

In 1769 the Fenwick Weavers’ Society, which had first formed to promote high standards in weaving, bought supplies of oatmeal to sell at a discount to its members in a shop. They also bought books and started a library. Profits were shared between members of the society.

The Fenwick Weavers later set up an emigration society. Many members of the co-operative emigrated to the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.

Today the co-operative movement has hundreds of millions of members around the world, is at the forefront of the development Fair Trade and supports sustainable farming.

  • Yarn on an 18th century loom

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