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History of the Barrhead Co-operative Society Ltd.
Chapter VII. 1901-11 : Our Own Times


A Busy Start—The New Bakery—Old Bakery Buildings—Graham Street and Paisley Road—A Public Improvement-—George Street Alterations —Holehouse Property—The Dairy—Interest on Capital—Paisley Congress—Manager Resigns—Mr A. B. Weir—Special Audit— Admission to Meetings—Purvey Department—A Drop in Trade— Removal of S.C.W.S. Laundry—A Stiff Battle—Mr Weir for S.C.W.S.—Mr Dykes, Manager—Sweet Charity—A Wonderful Record—Present Position of Society.

“Choosing each stone, and poising every weight,
Trying the measure of the breadth and height;
Here pulling down, and there erecting new,
Founding a firm state i>y proportion true.”
—Andrew Marvell.

A BUSY START

WITH the beginning of this period in 1901 we find ourselves touching so closely upon the affairs of our own day that it becomes at once more difficult and less necessary to enter into details of events with which all are familiar. This last ten years of the Society’s fifty years of history opened amid a bustle of activity which was the true fruit and outcome of the forty years then concluded. In the large number of shops and other establishments which it then possessed a great and ever-growing mass of trade was being done. To strengthen and further augment this, the Society, as we have seen, had time and again taken the bold but safe step of erecting its own property. And now, just as the century closed, it had determined, as the crown of all its effort, not only to erect an entirely new bakery, but also to proceed with shops, offices, and dwelling-houses at Paisley Road—the largest building scheme it had yet considered.

A NEW BAKERY

From the re-erection of the old bakery, after its destruction in 1882, there had been several additions to the ovens and other sections of the building. By 1899 it began to be felt that no possible patching of the old bakery could render it adequate to meet the growing needs of the Society, and a demand arose for a new building. Early in 1900 this was formally decided upon, and in May of the same year the Laundry Association agreed to sublet ground on their feu for this purpose. In June plans were adopted, and the work was commenced. There were the usual delays and alterations in plan as the building proceeded, but it was finally completed and formally opened on 4th January 1902. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr William Murray (then president of the Society), with Mr Thomas Scott (vice-president) in the chair. Mr William Maxwell (chairman of the S.C.W.S.) and representatives from other co-operative bodies were present, as well as the late Mr John Allan, Robert Stark, and other Barrhead veterans. Mr Murray, in declaring the bakery open, claimed that the committee had succeeded in its object—namely, to have a bakery second to none in the country. In justification of the Society having proceeded with the erection of the new bakery, he submitted the following figures. In the 126th quarter (1890) they baked 1,045 sacks of flour and 282 in small and fancy bread. In the 162nd quarter (1900) they baked 1,403 sacks of flour, and there was 512 for small and fancy bread. In the 126th quarter 1,808 was paid in dividend, and in the 162nd quarter the dividend was 3,050—the latter sum being equal to 1,000 per month, 250 per week, 40 per day. The total sales in 1890 were valued at 56,897, and in 1900 they had risen to 87,439. In 1890 the membership was 1,730, and in 1900, 2,550. From these figures it would be seen that a great advance had taken place in ten years ; and, with continued loyalty, there was no reason why the next ten years should not see the same ratio continued. At the luncheon which followed, in the Good Templars’ Hall, the speakers included Mr Maxwell, Bailie Hugh Paton, Mr P. Glasse, Mr John Allan, Mr Robert Campbell, Mr James Deans, Mr Thomas Dykes, Mr William George, and Mr G. Pinkerton.

OLD BAKERY BUILDINGS

After the opening of the new bakery there was much discussion as to the use or uses which might be made of the old buildings. A central store or a hall were the principal alternatives brought forward; but after these had been minutely weighed and debated, they were finally discarded, and the place was let at a yearly rental to a firm of plumbers, and in their hands it still remains. In July 1901 the Society received from the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company a sum of 240 for a feu in Henry Street and George Street, which had been affected by the Railway Company’s operations. After discussing what to do with this sum, the members agreed to employ it in a special depreciation of the old bakery building, which originally cost 1,907, and is now a free asset in the books of the Society.


MAIN STREET PROPERTY.


Purchased 1894.

GRAHAM STREET AND PAISLEY ROAD

The decision to build in Graham Street and Paisley Road was preceded by a great deal of anxious consideration. The first intention was to erect offices and other business premises on the George Street and Henry Street feu, which has already been spoken of, and sketch plans had been procured; but before anything further could be done, the construction of the Paisley branch of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway had cut into this feu. Another site was accordingly looked for, and that at the comer of Graham Street and Paisley Road selected on the 14th of March 1900. At a special meeting held in July it was agreed—and, as has so often happened in the history of the Society, agreed by a very narrow majority—to utilise the site for the erection of offices and central premises. The directors allowed no grass to grow under their feet in this matter, and before the end of the year plans were passed, schedules issued, and tradesmen’s offers amounting to close on 11,000 accepted.

A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT

Those who can recall the then condition of “ Grahamston Corner,” even those who look back upon it with the sentimental regard which a boyhood spent in its vicinity induces, cannot fail to admire the change wrought by the removal of the old thatched unsightly “pig rows” and the substitution of the tasteful and solid pile of masonry which the money and the brains of the workers of Barrhead have erected on the site. Toward this valuable improvement the Town Council made a small but welcome contribution. The buildings-were ready for occupancy, and were formally opened on 24th May 1902 by the president (Mr Gavin Pinkerton). Rev. David S. Brown, .of Arthurlie U.F. Church, dedicated the building with prayer. Mr Pinkerton, in declaring the premises duly opened, recounted the steps that had led up to that day’s proceedings, and afterwards submitted a number of figures in regard to sales and profits, figures which he declared they had every reason to be proud of. In particular, he pointed to the fact that the reserve funds of the Society then stood at 3,309, being fully 6 per cent, of its liabilities ; whilst the total capital was 54,524, an average of 22, 5s. per member. In addition to all its ordinary work, the members of the Society could point with pride to the fact that they gave 240 every year in donations, spent 200 per annum through their loan and benevolent fund, and 180 through the education fund, the latest of whose activities had been the saving of the Mechanics’ Library from dispersion.

Fully 200 guests attended a luncheon given on the same afternoon, in the Public Hall, and some most interesting speeches were delivered. The platform party included Provost Heys; Councillors Grandison, Cunningham, Sproul, J. B. Paton; Revs. William Young, D. S. Brown; Mr Z. G. Heys, Mr J. W. Farr, Mr J. M'Kessack (architect), and representatives of many co-operative societies. The speakers included Major James Pollock, Provost Heys, Mr James Deans (of the Scottish Section), Mr Gemmell (Paisley Manufacturing Society), Mr William Murray, Mr John Shanks, Mr William T. Smellie, Mr R. Campbell, and Mr Thomas Dykes.

GEORGE STREET ALTERATIONS

With the alteration in 1903 of the George Street building, the removal thereto of the drapery and dressmaking sections, and the consequent opening in Main Street of the bread shop, the record of the Society’s operations in stone and lime is completed, so ' far as Barrhead is concerned.

HOLEHOUSE PROPERTY.

It is perhaps running somewhat in advance of our story, but it will make for continuity and completion if we introduce here particulars of the Society’s most recent building addition—namely, the new tenement and shops at Holehouse, Neilston. After the long “ build or branch ” struggle, which began in 1881 and ended with the erection of Neilston buildings in 1888, there are no further suggestions of Neilston’s wants in this direction until 1903, when Mr W. Davidson voiced the need for a new building at “ the west end of the village.” The directors were sympathetic to the idea, but apparently contributed nothing to it beyond their sympathy, for the subject is not again mentioned until 1906, when it is agreed that there is urgent need for business premises in the Holehouse district. Power is thereupon given to the committee to take action, and to erect temporary premises if this is thought advisable. Later, the board reported that a feu could be obtained, and asked to be permitted to proceed with shops and dwelling-houses. The members, for some reason, did not agree to this ; and at a meeting in April 1907, at which plans were submitted, the feeling was expressed that shops should be gone on with, but that, “ for dwelling-houses, both Neilston and Barrhead were presently overbuilt.” The meeting finally determined upon a three months’ delay, and when that period had expired it was found that trouble had developed between the committee and the owner of the ground with regard to certain restrictions in the feu charter. This trouble became so acute at one time that the ground would have been given up by the board, but they found that they had gone too far to turn back. Eventually the matter was arranged, plans were accepted, and the building duly commenced. It is noteworthy that although the work connected with the inception and completion of this building cannot be said to have been very protracted, it yet touched upon three presidencies. Begun under that of Mr Clark, it was continued under that of Mr Ferguson, and closed under Mr Stewart. Holehouse property was completed in 1910, and on Saturday, 26th July 1910 the premises were formally opened by Mr John A. Stewart (president), Mr A. B. Weir (managing-secretary) presiding at the opening ceremony. Mr Stewart, in declaring the premises open for business and inspection, said he felt it at once an honour and a privilege to be asked to open those up-to-date buildings, the second which the Society had erected in Neilston. In that district of theirs the members of the Society had done their best for themselves by remaining constant to their principles. The Society, in 1889, commenced business in its own building with a grocery branch, and there followed in rapid succession drapery, fleshing, and furnishing branches. Five years previously a dairy department was opened, thus making a total of five branches in Neilston. That day they were celebrating the opening of the sixth department, and all within their own premises. The turnover in Neilston in 1909 was no less than 20,688, and this was an excellent record, and indicated an increase of 38 per cent, as compared with fifteen years before. In declaring those handsome premises open, he pledged his word that the commodities stored and sold therein would be pure and wholesome,


DOVECOTHALL PROPERTY. Erected ISOS.

and free from the sweater’s taint; that the service given would be prompt and courteous; and that their employees would be treated with fairness and .consideration.

At the luncheon which was afterwards given in the Glen Halls, the speakers included Mr William Davidson (vicepresident), Mr George Thomson (S.C.W.S.), Mr Ninian M'Whannell (architect), and Messrs John Martin, Gavin Pinkerton, R. Campbell, A. B. Weir, John Muir (Renfrewshire Conference), John Watt (Kinning Park), Thomas Dykes, and William Reid (Scottish Co-operator). This is the final word, so far as it can presently be written, in the chronicle of the Society’s building activity. It is a long story and an honourable one. Beginning in 1870 with the purchase of the old Bourock property, it forms a record of careful activity and steady development. As a useful outlet for the Society’s capital and an advantage to the members, this section is sufficient of itself to deserve the gratitude of all. Perhaps we cannot close this part of our history better than by quoting from the speech of the chairman (Mr John A. Stewart) at the Holehouse luncheon. “ Barrhead,” he said, “ might honestly claim to have been one of the first co-operative societies to build their own shops and houses extensively, and a short survey of their position and experience might be pardoned. Altogether there had, been spent on buildings, exclusive of Holehouse, the sum of 45,247. This had now been converted into a nominal value of 34,415, showing a depreciation of 10,832—equal to almost 24 per cent, of total cost. The total rent was 2,244, and on the nominal value gave a return of per cent., or practically 4 per cent. net. They had presently 149 tenants in comfortable co-operative houses, with rents ranging from 5 to l6.

THE DAIRY

The opening of a dairy was a project long talked-of amongst the members. As early as July 1898 the subject was under discussion, and a sub-committee was appointed to secure information. There is no hint as to what this earliest committee did, but in November the board report to the members against the proposal, and state that they are satisfied such a business would not be successful. With this faint-heart attitude the members do not seem to have been satisfied, and perhaps neither were the directors themselves. In any case, by February of the following year a new committee is appointed to investigate, and at the June meeting an entirely favourable, report and recommendation is given. No action follows, and for a whole year the question is permitted to lie in abeyance, doubtless in consequence of the fact that members and committeemen are alike busy with the bakery and Giaham Street buildings. In October 1900 another sub-committee is appointed, and in January 1901 this body submits a carefully detailed statement in favour of the immediate establishment of a dairy. This was accepted both by the board and by the members, and it looked this time as though the proposed branch would be proceeded with at once. As a matter of fact, however, another three years are permitted to elapse before the subject is again raised ; and it is only in October 1904 that we find definite action taken, when the board recommends the altering of what had been furnishing department No. 3, in Paisley Road, to accommodate a dairy. The work was finished, and the shop opened for business on the 27th March 1905. A few months later the dairy branch at Neilston followed.

INTEREST ON CAPITAL

From the beginnings of the Society interest had been paid on all capital at the rate of 5 per cent., but in 1883 a resolution was carried which reduced interest on loan capital to 4 per cent. In 1895 the question was again considered, and the directors came forward with a recommendation that the rate of interest on loan capital should be 3 per cent, on sums of 50 and upwards, and 31 per cent, on sums under 50. When this recommendation came before the members, Mr R. Campbell made the suggestion that the rate should be a uniform one of 3$ per cent. Acceptance of Mr Campbell’s suggestion was moved by Mr William Smellie, and was carried by a large majority against an amendment, moved by the present writer, to reduce the rate to 2f per cent. In September 1903 the question of reducing interest on capital was again raised by Mr Gavin Pinkerton, who suggested 4^ per cent, as sufficient for share capital; but he agreed not to press any motion, on the promise of the board to consider the subject and report. After full consideration, the committee recommended an elaborate but clumsy scale of interest, based on the proportion of a member’s purchases to his share capital. Thus, a member with 50 of capital must purchase 6 worth per quarter to entitle him to the maximum of 5 per cent. If he purchased less, he would only receive 5 per cent, on a certain proportion of his shares and the loan rate (3J) on the balance. The board submitted this scale to an ordinary meeting, and asked power to lay it before a meeting called specially for that purpose ; but before the latter meeting was held, the directors had recognised the clumsiness of their expedient, and intimated its abandonment. Accordingly, at the quarterly meeting in November 1903, Mr Gavin Pinkerton returned to his first proposal, and moved that the interest on share capital be reduced to 4^ per cent.—a motion which was accepted almost unanimously by the members.

PAISLEY CONGRESS

In 1905 the annual Congress was held in Paisley, and Barrhead, as usual, showed its willingness to do all it could to make such an important event a success. A sum of 50 was voted to the Congress funds, and in other ways this Society assisted in the arrangements for the meetings and entertainment of delegates.

MANAGER’S RESIGNATION

In the latter end of 1906 and the beginning of 1907 the Society found itself passing through a somewhat anxious and exciting time in consequence of the resignation of Mr M‘L,intock (manager), the death of Mr George (secretary), and the appointment of Mr A. B. Weir, first as manager, and then as managing-secretary. These events followed quickly one upon the other, and were all crowded into the space of a few months. It was on the 31st of December 1906 that Mr John M'Dintock, principally for health reasons, handed in his resignation as manager; and on 18th January 1907 Mr Weir—at that time manager with the Pollokshaws Society—was selected as his successor. Within a short time Mr George took seriously ill, and Mr Weir was appointed managing-secretary pro tem. In October 1907 Mr George died, and Mr Weir’s appointment to the dual office became a permanent one.

MR WEIR’S POLICY

We do not think it will be regarded as in any sense a stretching of language to say that Mr Weir’s appointment was an extremely popular one. The committee had no small difficulties to face in making the selection, but they faced these difficulties courageously, and the events of the next few months fully justified their action. The new manager proved himself a master of method, and his bold handling of awkward situations, as illustrated at the meetings which followed his taking office, gained him at once the confidence of directors and employees, and the respect of the great body of the members. In his investigation into the affairs of the Society Mr Weir discovered several matters that seemed to him in want of immediate attention. None of them, perhaps, vital or great enough permanently to injure the working of the Society, they were yet sufficiently important as to have impaired its character and usefulness in time if allowed to continue unchecked. In particular, he detected abuses that had been allowed to grow up with the menage system ; and his examination proved that the assumed assets of the Society in this department and in drapery stock were grossly overstated. Instead of glozing the matter over— for a time at anyrate-^-as might have seemed the easiest course to some, Mr Weir insisted on a complete and systematic overhaul. Very naturally, this created a certain amount of alarm. By some the situation was greatly exaggerated, and there were others who would fain have seen it smoothed over in silence altogether. But Mr Weir was apparently set on getting to the bottom of it, and in this he was ably seconded by the committee.

In the end the trouble was fully adjusted, and a new and very much better and safer system was introduced. Those who are best able to judge declare that under this new system there need be no fear of a repetition of the former unfortunate experience.

SPECIAL AUDIT

Whilst the foregoing was proceeding, the Society was simultaneously passing through an unusual experience— namely, a special audit of its whole books and accounts by a chartered accountant. Such an examination had not taken place in the history of the Society before. Its own auditors had always been appointed from amongst the members. In the earlier years they may often have lacked training, but for a long time they had not only been men of probity but also of special knowledge. This was unquestionably true of the then auditors—Mr James Walker and Mr Alexander M'Millan—and there was little fear that even the most microscopic investigation by a professional man would reveal anything wrong with the finances of the Society. At the same time such an examination could not be undertaken without creating a certain amount of unquietness, and the accountant’s report was waited with great interest. The books were examined for the quarter ending March 1908 ; and when the auditor appointed—Mr W. H. Jack, F.S.A.A., Glasgow—submitted his report in May, it formed a splendid testimony to the solid worth of the Society and the soundness of the principles that had guided it. Only in one or two minor matters were suggestions made for improvement. To Mr William Ferguson was due the credit for suggesting (in August 1907) this special audit. It was fitting, therefore, that it should have been carried out in the beginning of his term of the presidency.

ADMISSION TO MEETINGS

To the same period belongs the. proposal that admission to meetings of the Society should only be obtained on production of the member’s share book. This, it has already been noted, was an old custom which had been allowed to fall into disuse, and its revival was suggested in 1907 in consequence of a feeling that many non-members were attending and were voting at the meetings. The proposal was accepted by the board, but arrangements were not made for giving it effect until the beginning of 1910.

PURVEY DEPARTMENT

During this decade the Society began to give serious attention to its purvey department, and in 1907 it was agreed to procure a fuller and more complete purvey plant than it had up to that time possessed. Since then, this branch has steadily grown in popularity, until now it is unquestionably the best equipped and the most frequently employed in the district.

A DROP IN TRADE

The closing months of 1907 and practically the whole of 1908 witnessed what had been a hitherto unknown phenomenon with the Society, namely, a steady decrease in sales. This was spread over most departments, and as it coincided with a period of unemployment and bad trade, there can be no doubt that the latter was the cause. With the return of better times in 1909-10 the lost leeway was soon made up, and the unfamiliar line in the balance-sheet—“ decrease as compared with corre-ponding quarter ” gave place to the older and more welcome “ increase over corresponding quarter.”

REMOVAL OF S.C.W.S. LAUNDRY

For a good many years the Wholesale Society had been doing a successful business in Chappellfield Laundry, and when it was intimated in the beginning of 1908 that the Wholesale directors proposed removing the business to Paisley a good deal of feeling and indignation was expressed. Every effort that could be suggested was made to keep the laundry in the district. On the grounds alike of Barrhead's loyalty to the movement and the known suitability of the neighbourhood to such a business the directors were appealed to, but they were seemingly obdurate in their decision. At the quarterly meeting of Barrhead Society in August, Mr R. Campbell moved, and Mr William Tait seconded, a resolution which deglared that “ the members of the Society viewed with great concern the decision of the Wholesale directors to remove the laundry from Barrhead, and regarded the transfer as a retrograde step, unjust and inequitable, contrary to the principles of the federation, and called upon the directors to reconsider their decision.”

A STIFF BATTLE

Following upon this resolution, the Barrhead delegates to the Wholesale meetings assailed the directorate with a whole armoury of question and motion ; but all in vain. This part of Barrhead's case was largely entrusted to the hands of Mr Weir, and all were agreed as to the skill with which he handled the subject. His motion, expressing

PRESENT-DAY OFFICIALS

regret at the Board’s decision, was carried by an overwhelming majority. But the Wholesale directors, however, had either gone too far with their Paisley negotiations to resile, or they were determined not to yield to such outside pressure. In any case they clung to their decision and carried out the transfer, with results the reverse of satisfactory, but which were just what nearly everybody else but themselves had foreseen.

NOMINEE FOR S.C.W.S.

In the end of 1908 Mr Weir was nominated for a vacancy which then required to be filled on the Wholesale board. His nomination had the entire approval of the members, and at the meeting at which his candidature was endorsed the feeling was freely expressed that his knowledge and experience as a retail society’s manager would prove invaluable on the board. In the subsequent election, although he failed to carry the seat, he made an excellent show, being placed third in the final vote. In the beginning of 1910 there was another vacancy, and Mr Weir was again nominated, and this time he was runner-up to Mr George Thomson who secured the seat. The resignation of Mr Arthur, Paisley, in July 1910, left another vacant chair at the Wholesale board, and for the third time Mr Weir was nominated by the Society.

It is a familiar adage of childhood that " the third time’s lucky,” and on this occasion the adage proved true. There were twenty-six candidates for the vacancy, but from the first the best-informed observers recognised that the only three men who were in the running were Mr Campbell (Cowlairs), Mr Weir (Barrhead), and Mr Steel (Paisley). The first vote proved how accurate this forecast had been, for it ended in the three gentlemen named forming a short leet for the second vote. The next ballot disposed of Mr Steel’s chances, but was not decisive as between Mr Campbell and Mr Weir, and a third vote had to be taken, which ended in Mr Weir being elected by 406 votes against 377 for Mr Campbell.

Mr Weir’s selection for the directorate of the Wholesale was received amongst the members of our Society with deep satisfaction at the gain to the general movement through the promotion of one so well able to help in guiding its affairs. But this satisfaction was naturally tinged with a very real feeling of regret at the prospect of Barrhead losing an official so capable and so energetic. Mr Weir’s transference to Morrison Street was recognised as a gain to co-operation throughout Scotland, but was a distinct loss to Barrhead. He was elected on the 2nd of November, and left the Society’s service a fortnight later. He had been in Barrhead for close on four years, having been appointed in January 1907. From the first moment of his introduction to the Society, Mr Weir gained the respect of the members, the directors, and the employees, and he not only retained this respect unbroken, but rather deepened and strengthened it, until he left.

MR DYKES—MANAGER

Immediately following upon Mr Weir’s election to the Wholesale, steps were taken for filling the vacancy thus created. The situation was duly advertised, and there were many applicants; but, after full consideration of the rival claims laid before them, the board decided that they could not do better than promote Mr Thomas Dykes, who had given faithful service as treasurer, to the premier position of managing-secretary. By doing this the board ensured that there would be no great departure from established policy and method, such as might have followed upon the appointment of a stranger, and it ensured also that the promotion of one already familiar with the details of the business would involve a minim tun of readjustment between the various departments. Mr Dykes’s work as treasurer and factor for the Society had given every satisfaction during the eleven years he had filled these positions, and, in deciding to make him their chief servant, the board did so with a confident belief that his new duties would be performed with the same careful attention to detail and the same general capacity which had characterised his past services in the office.

A NEW TREASURER

Mr Dykes’s new appointment left the treasurership vacant, but this the board promptly filled by the promotion of Mr Thomas Scott, jun., who had for twelve years been a member of the office staff, and for most of the time had acted as assistant to the treasurer. Mr Scott had, therefore, been given an excellent preparation for his new responsibilities, and there was general commendation of the action of the board in advancing tried servants rather than seeking new employees. In like manner, Mr Thomas Davidson, who had been head of the check department, was transferred to the office as assistant to Mr Scott.

SWEET CHARITY

The same willingness to relieve distress and assist deserving organisations, which we have noted in earlier years, has remained characteristic of the Society in its later days also. During the last ten years it has not only increased its annual donations until now they exceed 300, but it has also more than once made special votes to aid local distress in times of peculiar need. During the past two winters, efforts have been made in a number of schools in the district to provide dinners for necessitous children, and in these cases the Society came readily forward and assisted by providing for each school a free daily supply of loaves. In July of last year (1910), when the workers of Messrs R. F. & J. Alexander’s Thread Mills, Neilston, were on strike against a reduction in their wage-rates, an appeal for financial support was laid before the members, and at a special meeting was responded to by a vote of 100. It cannot, therefore, be charged against the members that they have in any way failed to exercise a spirit of charity and kindliness towards the more necessitous section of the community.

A WONDERFUL RECORD

With the conclusion of these notes of the last ten years we may claim to have brought up to date and completed the record of Barrhead Co-operative Society’s progress?”':: and development. It is a wonderful record even as we have printed it, but its true proportions and real greatness can only be understood by those who will bring to a study " of the bald facts something of the gift of imagination, and (who will be able to see behind the solid mass of its accumulated capital the humble shillings of a great.gji" company of men and women; and who will see, also, in its magnificent trade and wonderful organisation, the

PRESENT POSITION OF THE SOCIETY

At the end of the year 1910 the Society had a membership of 3,051, and capital amounting to 73,218. The total sales in all departments during 1910 was 105,086, and the average dividend over the four quarters was 2/6J per . It owns nine large properties, consisting of shops and dwelling-houses, seven of these being in Barrhead and two in Neilston. The total cost of all its buildings (including bakery, stables, etc.) was 47,227, a sum which has been depreciated to the extent of 11,398, the properties as a whole being now valued at 35,829. Its distributive departments are as follows:—Seven grocery branches, four fleshing branches, two dairies, two hardware and furnishing departments, two drapery branches, a boot shop, a bread shop, a fish shop, two coal depots, and quite a large number of fleshing vans, fish vans, bread vans, goods delivery lorry, coal lorries, etc. The productive branches include bakery, sausage-making, tailoring, shoemaking, dressmaking, millinery, and drapery; and there is also a well-equipped joiner’s shop, and a well-constructed, carefully-kept slaughter-house. The stable accommodates a stud of 18 horses. The bakery is built on the best lines, and is thoroughly hygienic, and it baked, last year, no less than 7,273 sacks of flour, representing 103,482 dozen loaves and 3,003, 2s. 4d. in small and fancy bread. In all 149 tenants find accommodation in the houses of the Society, and the employees of all grades number 190.


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