Photo Keri Davies

The Co-operative supermarket in Stirchley has closed its doors for the last time – after serving the local community for almost 150 years.

And a special verse paying homage to the store’s place in the Stirchley community has been written by an Archers scriptwriter.

The Co-operative Society announced in October last year that the store had been sold to supermarket giant Morrisons, with existing staff being transferred in the takeover.

Co-op central premises Stirchley

The Ten Acres and Stirchley Cooperative Society (TASCOS) was formed in 1875 with the store at the corner of Hazelwell Road – where the modern store now stands – being Branch number 1.

At its peak, TASCOS had more than 50 branches across south Birmingham and Bromsgrove, with its own bakery, dairy, laundry, coal wharf and more.

On the store’s closure, local Co-op shopper and scriptwriter for BBC Radio Four’s The Archers, Keri Davies shared a heartfelt poem.

ELEGY TO A CO-OP
by Keri Davies

In Stirchley, fair Stirchley, a proud beacon burns
To a positive wealth of cooperative firms
There’s Artefact, Loaf and of course the Bike Foundry
But now we are faced with a very sad quandary
By the gyratory, where the cars stop,
The mum of them all is now shutting up shop.

Over the years, we have given a wave
To Fitness First, Ten Pin and (less missed) Kwik Save
The Co-op has fallen foul of a sad plot
So more than a Lidl – we’ll miss you a lot

You’re not just a supermarket. You offered more
As Stirchley’s own miniature department store
With bedding and linens, and cheap deep fat fryers
Tellys and vacuums and big tumble driers.
And there at the back an enormous amount
Of books that you’d not even want at a discount

When needing some supper we’d pop along late
To shuffle through food near its best-before date
Each one yellow-stickered and begging ‘choose me’
Like sad Cinderella, disconsolately

An eclectic selection contained in our hand,
Then we’d be faced with a different demand
The challenge that buying your purchases posed
With nine tills and checkouts – and eight of them closed

And on Sunday mornings, now where will we go for
An eight-item breakfast on black leather sofa?
Though some people avoided you, some people dissed
Please understand that you’ll always be missed

And so what approaches us from the horizon?
The future is brought to us by Mister Morrison
He means well, I’m sure, with his newly found operatives
But sadly for us, they will be un – Cooperative

Morrisons will take over the store and begin refitting next month.

Find more pictures of Co-op buildings in south west Birmingham over the years on the co-ophistorian Flickr page

4 COMMENTS

  1. I worked in the original co opop then into dairy offices 1960s my husband worked in dairy for 25 yrs as a contract driver then roundsman can people remember carters yard behind main store and shoe repairs on the bridge old stables on carters yard good old days

  2. Co-0p is over pice a lot more the a normal store no wonder it closing down.they kick on it help the so called community all it is interested in is how much can we rip the customer I brought some milk once AND EVEN OTHER THINGS and it was 3 times more then I would get it from the corner shop so HOW ARE YOU HELPING THE PUBLIC YOU ARE ONLY ABOUT ££££££ THAT WHY I WOULD NEVER GO IN TO ANY OF YOUR SHOP EVER

  3. Shop has been wound down for years with the new management.shelves ½empty most days, freezers ½empty.poorly laid out shop consisted mainly of empty space.
    Won’t be missed.

  4. I’m so relieved that Shane dropped by to write such an eloquent comment regarding the Stirchley Co-op store.

    Goodness knows where we’d all be without such wise insight into local retail matters and such helpful hints for locals!

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