41-43 Fore Street
Chard Industrial and Provident Society Ltd., was the registered title of the Co-op in Chard, which commenced business in February 1866. It moved to Fore Street in 1875.
Through the next century the Society opened branch shops in Ilminster and nearby villages, including Tatworth and Wadeford. In Chard the shop had ladies and gents clothing and drapery departments, homewares, a furniture department and butchery and grocery departments.
As well as being the largest owner of cottage properties in the area, the Society also owned a farm near Nimmer. People bought silver or copper discs from the shop, silver for a pint of milk and copper for half a pint, then left the discs on the doorstep and the farmer would deliver their milk. Journey Men would cycle around villages to collect and deliver orders to households.
Customers became shareholders being given a Dividend number which they would use every time they shopped. Twice a year there would be a line of people queuing to receive their little bag of cash, their ‘divi’, for shopping at the Co-op.
The site is now occupied by Poundstretcher.
If you would like to share or you have different memories of The Co-op you can message us on the Museum Facebook page, email us at email@example.com, or visit us at the Museum or any Chard Revealed event.