This film is part of Free

People with a Purpose

Documentary on the history of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society’s and its education programme inspired by the Rochdale Pioneers.

Documentary 1939 16 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society was a consumer co-operative based in Woolwich, the name originating from the royal munitions works in the area. Inspired by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, forerunners of a countrywide co-op movement in the 19th century, the group ran for a century before the rise of supermarkets. Fascinating scenes show the educational activities they organised, which includes tutelage in bacon slicing and theatrical technique.