How we were formed

The Co-operative Heritage Trust was formed in 2007, bringing the museum and archive service together. The Trust was formed by three founders to be an independent charity in order to safeguard the heritage of the movement for the future.

Our founders

31 Toad Lane was first opened as a museum in 1931, and was cared for by the Co-operative Union, which is now known as Co-operatives UK (the apex body for co-operative organisations).

The archival and library collections were held by the Co-operative College, which was created in 1919 to provide training and education for British co-operators and still exists to provide support and development in the UK and overseas.

The Co-operative Group was created from a number of mergers with the Co-operative Wholesale Society or CWS which was first formed in 1863. It is now one of the largest consumer retail co-operatives in the world and the UK's fifth largest food retailer.

To find out more about our founders click on these links