History of Co-ops
Modern co-ops date back to the 19th century when working people struggled to take back some of the control that the capitalist system and urbanisation had taken from them. Co-op shops were established giving people a greater choice of better quality goods and services. These early co-ops opened people's eyes to new ways of working together – ways which still offer a challenging alternative today.
By the Second World War "the Co-op" was the largest retailer in the country. After the war the spirit of the co-op movement was further developed by new types of co-ops such as workers' co-ops and housing co-ops. Just as in the 19th
Recently, there have been many co-operative initiatives in the field of finance, such as LETS schemes, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies and mutual investment societies. Rootstock is a social investment society aimed at providing finance for the growing number of small independent co-operatives that make up the Radical Routes network.