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.
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