Special blue plaque unveiled at Ripley supermarket to mark the town’s historic links to the co-operative movement

Posted by james brindle | Published: 13/04/2022

A ceremony has been held at Ripley’s Central England Co-op to unveil a special blue plaque which celebrates the town’s historic links to the co-operative movement.

Central England Co-op Vice-President Elaine Dean and Mayor of Ripley Councillor Roland Emmas-Williams unveiled the blue plaque which celebrates the history of Butterley Co-operative Society and later Ripley Co-operative Society founded in the town in 1860.

The event was held at the Ripley Central England Co-op where the plaque will now be installed, and also doubled as a celebration of the food store’s 40 years in its current Derby Road home.

The production and funding of the plaque was organised by the Ripley and District Heritage Trust, and the Northern Membership and Community Council at Central England Co-op with members in attendance enjoying looking back at photos of the co-op in Ripley from over the years, as well as being able to sit in a vintage Ripley Co-op delivery van.

Elaine Dean said: “I was extremely honoured to be invited along to unveil the plaque in Ripley recognising the long and successful history of the co-operative movement in the town.

“As a Society we’re always proud to celebrate our history and our heritage and we’re pleased to be able to acknowledge the role that Butterley Co-operative and later Ripley Co-operative societies played in the area and the co-operative movement as a whole, as well as celebrate them in their current form as part of Central England Co-op by marking 40 years of the Derby Road store.”

The Butterley Co-operative and later Ripley Co-operative was founded in March 1860 by workers from the Butterley Company’s ironworks.

The original premises was a house on Butterley Hill owned by Patrick Parkin and the store was started with a capital of £14. In 1903 the Society moved to the Central Headquarters on Nottingham Road, with the current retail store opening in Derby Road in 1981.

Tanya Noon, Member and Community Relations Officer at Central England Co-op, said: “The town of Ripley has an historic association to the Co-operative movement and has been a part of many people’s lives in Ripley for decades and I’m sure there are many ancestors of those pioneers who formed the Society still living in the area today.

“Therefore, we were delighted to support the Ripley and District Heritage Trust to unveil a blue plaque to recognise this history and it was wonderful to join with members to look back on some wonderful memories of co-operation in Ripley.”


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 8,000 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 20 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.

It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.

Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Contact details: www.centralengland.coop/press-and-media