The Co-op career of William Broadley

William Broadley second from left Mr William Broadley started his working life as a Flour Boy with the Glossop & District Co-operative Society, Grocery Dept in 1909 and he continued to work there, apart from a short break for War Service, until the day he retired in 1959. By this time he had reached the dizzy heights of Grocery Manager and Buyer. During the First World War he served with the Cheshire Regiment and was twice badly wounded.

A flour boy was the bottom of the ladder within the Grocery Trade. A flour boy was responsible for weighing out the flour into the “housewives” standard weight for a batch of bread. Baking the family’s bread was a basic duty of the housewife in those days. He was also responsible for weighing out the corn for the very large number of men who kept poultry. The job of flour boy has long since disappeared from the trade.

In 1909 pre-packaging of goods in the grocery trade was almost non-existent. Tea was sold by weight (no teabags in those days!) from a big container and could be blended by the grocer. Green tea was bought as easily as Ceylon or China. Almost everything for sale was weighed and packaged in the shop, by the assistant grocer. Tea was packaged into little blue sugar bags and butter was taken from a huge slab using two large butter patts.

William Broadley second from left.

When William started his career for the Co-op he divided his week between the Pikes Lane & Gladstone Street branches, and the more experienced he became was transferred between many different branches. When he became Branch Manager he worked at the Gamesley, Church Street, Manor Park Road and Arundel Street branches. He was promoted to manager of the Central Grocery shop, Norfolk Square in 1937 and continued in this role until the end of the war in 1945. He was then appointed Assistant Grocery Manager, subsequently rising to Grocery Manager and Buyer in 1952.

Information supplied to Lynda Meehan by Mr Broadley's granddaughter, Mrs Sylvia Wallace

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Last updated: 9 November 2021