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Professor Tony Webster. Northumbria University Public Lecture Series: The People’s Colossus? The British Co-operative Wholesale Societies and the World, 1863-1970

17 January 2017 @ 18:30 - 19:30


Refreshments from 6:00

Professor Tony Webster
Professor of History, Northumbria University

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In his lecture Professor Webster will explore how the British Co-operative movement and specifically the Wholesale Societies, developed international supply chains and markets between 1863 and 1970. He will show how they created one of most sophisticated supply chain systems seen to date; one which managed trade with Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

He will suggest that in many ways they were pioneers in international supply chain development, outlining how these supply chains were developed and managed, and how as a result, the Wholesale societies came to exercise some leverage over British foreign and imperial policy.

The lecture will highlight the emerging picture of formidable and highly sophisticated commercial operators, very much at variance with the modern impression of the ‘co-op’ as a rather old fashioned and inefficient organisation, unable to hold its own in the marketplace.

About the Speaker
Professor Webster studied at the University of Birmingham and was awarded the Ashley Prize for best PhD thesis in the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science. He originally trained as a Further Education teacher and a tax inspector, before joining Edge Hill University in 1993.
He was Head of History at Edge Hill University, Head of Humanities at UCLAN and Head of History at Liverpool John Moores University before joining Northumbria as a Professor in History. He is a former Governor of the Co-operative College in Manchester, and Chairs the Heritage Advisory Committee of the National Co-operative Archive. He is currently working closely with the WEA and Building Futures East on a project promoting social enterprise education in Walker, Newcastle.


17 January 2017
18:30 - 19:30


Presentation Hall, Design Building
City Campus East, Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne,